Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital

Life and death in the Vietnam War medical communications zone in Japan

By William Wetherall

First posted 18 December 2015
Last updated 10 May 2022

Kishine and the 106th Purpose Sources Memory Fact checking Editing Corrections Abbreviations Japanese terms 2017 Kanagawa News article
106th General Hospital (1969) Unit history Installation Mission Officers Organization Operation Hospitalization Burns Personnel Map Buildings Photographs
106th in Stars and Stripes Viet evacuees Hospitals Doctors Nurses Other staff Patients Medals and awards Red Cross Sports Celebrities Milieu
106th medical reports Abdominal injuries Bacteria in wounds Bacteremia Burns report Fat embolism Pulmonary insufficiency Septic phlebitis Vascular injuries Amputations Head wounds
Kishine history Aerial photos Geography Before wars China and Pacific Wars Allied Occupation Post-Occupation Vietnam War Renovations Reversion Kishine Park
Kishine images Then and now Photos Suido street Area maps Satellite views Street views Park access Park guides Park vs Barracks
Kishine stories Tales by or about some of the people who were there for whatever reason

WACs (1957)
Kupski (1957)
Duncan (1960, 1968-70)
Rollyson (1961)
Szabo (1962)
Jenkins (1964)
Kruger (1965)
Stuhl (1965-66)
Wetherall (1965-66)
Harvey (1965-67)
Momiyama (1965-67)
Metoyer (1965-67)
Pusch (1965-67)
Robason (1965-67)
Rodriguez (1965-67)
Terry (1965-67)
Reed (1965-68)
Hasegawa (1966-70)
Murray (1966)
Arrowsmith (1966-68)
Burnam (1966-67)
Timberg (1967)
Jacobs (1967)
Tenney (1967)
Whitmore (1967)
Caines (1967-68)
Mabee-Takimoto (1967-69)
Dentinger (1968)
Haney (1968)
Overcash (1968)
Henjyoji (1968-69)
Glasser (1968-69)
Boysen (1968-70)
Malka (1968-70)
Rubin (1968-70)
Sisk (1968)
Christian (1969)
Hoepner (1969)
Tice (1969)
Arbeeny (1969)
Lawson (1966-68, 1973 >)
Cleland (1968, 2000)
Wetherall (1965-66, 2016)
Harvey (1965-67, 2018)

Other stories PTSD appellants MUC claims Reunion Wheeler Zengaku Air crashes SDF sub-camp Tower jumper
Other hospitals Sagami-Ono Hospital 7th Field Hospital 249th General Hospital 406th Medical Laboratory Hospitals in Vietnam Evacuation
Other perspectives Marriages Crime Vietnam and Japan Rest & Recuperation Helicopters Community protests Urban legends Demonstrations Beheiren
Other directions Veterans on desertion Charles Jenkins Kim Tonghui and Kim Hyungsung Terry Whitmore Kenneth Briggs aka Kim Jinsu Shimizu Tetsuo
Early posts and training Basic training (Ft. Ord) Medical corpsman training (Ft. Sam Houston) 561st Ambulance Company (Ft. Ord) Lab tech training (Ft. Baker)
Lab tech posts USAH (Ft. Ord) 106th General Hospital (WBGH Ft. Bliss) McAfee Army Hospital (WSMR) 106th General Hospital (Kishine Barracks) People I knew
Clinical pathology Hematology Serology Urinalysis Blood chemistry Bacteriology Parisitology Histology Making do The small box from Japan
Looking back Crossing the tees and dotting the eyes of a life half lived half a century ago

Entrance Click on image to enlarge
The wards and labs of the 106th General Hospital
1966 photograph by Pathology Lab microbiology chief Jim Terry
Ward A (left), Ward B, and Pathology Lab between B and C
Ward C, Ward D, and X-ray Lab between D and E
Enlisted men's quarters (E) and Kishine chapel (distant right)
Mess hall (right) and heliport (right foreground)
Entrance Click on image to enlarge
Main gate of Kishine Barracks from southwest
Taken February 1962 by Jim Szabo while on R&R from Korea
Szabo stayed in one of the buildings called "R&R Hotel"
Buildings behind guard post are movie theater and gymnasium

Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital

War, protest, and urban legends in
an occupied neighborhood in Yokohama

I spent 3 years in the U.S. Army as a medical corpsman, ambulance orderly, and laboratory technician. I enlisted in October 1963, 10 months before the Tonkin Gulf Incident that sparked the Vietnam War, and I was discharged 3 years later, 2 years into the war.

I never set foot in Vietnam, but Vietnam set foot in me, at the 106th General Hospital, at Kishine Barracks in Yokohama in Japan, where I worked for 9-plus months as a laboratory technician. Soldiers wounded in Vietnam were evacuated to Japan, treated and returned to duty in Vietnam if possible, or stabilized and sent to the United States for further treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation. A few died in the hospital and were flown home in caskets.

I am writing this half a century later. 50 years is not a long time in the flow of human history, but it is a significant period in the life spans of the people who passed through the 106th in the late 1960s. I was 24 when I arrived in December 1965 and 25 by the time I left in October the following year. This means I am now in my 70s, as are most of the thousands of personnel, wounded, injured, and ill who crossed paths at the 106th between 1965 when the hospital opened and 1970 when it closed.

Most patients who passed through the 106th were affiliated with the U.S. Army, most were men, and most were Americans. But some were from the Marines or other Navy units, and a few were from the Air Force and even allied military forces. Local national (Japanese) staff and the denizens of Yokohama also figure in this story, as do of course the men and women, Americans and others, assigned to the 106th at Kishine, and even the families of those who were there.



"Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital" is at once a personal, social, political, and medical history. I could not have written this if I hadn't been there, and I wouldn't have written it if I didn't have strong feelings about why I was there, and what I did and didn't do while I was there.

While the months I spent at Kishine left an indelible mark on my life, I have tried to make this story more than a self-congratulatory "I was there" sort of vanity piece. I've endeavored to balance accounts of my own experiences with those of others I knew and remember, or have met through correspondence, or know only through memoirs, newspaper articles, and official records. Some of these people are no longer alive, and among those still in this world, not everyone wants to revisit the past. All whose names I mention here, though, have somehow captured my interest and compelled me to write about them as though I had shared their space and time.


Research and writing have been my principle vocations, and people who know me understand that almost everything I have written is deeply related to my interests in one or another historical or social issue. Even my choices of what to translate from Japanese literature into English, and the themes of my own short stories and other literary efforts, have been inspired by my fascination with the human condition and my impulse to imagine what it might be like to have been born a different person in a different place or age.

Many of my stories I have related here meander. In the course of telling one story, other stories occur to me. At times I simply digress for a while. At times I wander so far astray the story within the story becomes the story.

I think of it as walking down a main street, and turning into an alley, and into another alley, that may or may not take me back to the main street.

By embedding this story of Kishine and the 106th in a larger narrative, I don't mean to imply that the larger narrative is more important than the personal experiences of the individuals who were there for whatever reason. I do, however, feel that the significance of being there in any capacity, regardless of personal circumstances, cannot be fully appreciated without understanding the place and time in the larger sweep of local, regional, and even global history.

Family history

I have always been interested in my own family history -- in knowing everything, not only about living and dead relatives, but also about their living and dead friends and enemies. I have no interest in conventional genealogy, which focuses on family trees and heraldry and celebrations of celebrity connections. I see lineage as nothing more than a biological consequence of sexual reproduction. For me, genetic ties are merely a pretext for exploring the times and surroundings of the people who happen to be in my own network, and often find the friends and enemies of relatives more interesting as subjects of my writing.

This story about Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital grew out of the work I had been doing on my family history. I see it, in fact, as a component of my family history. Most who were there, as personnel or patients, never knew each other. But we were akin to members of the same extended family.

Literally and figuratively, I like to open draws and closets, peek under carpets, rip up floors and break through ceilings. I don't look for skeletons, but if I find them, they get equal if not more time than the people who buried or hid them. Letters in a trunk in an attic were left to be read. A cave that opens off the wall of a cellar has to be explored. At the end of the day, there are no secrets between us.

People, not politics

My telling of the history of Kishine and the 106th touches upon a number of political issues. I am not, however, interested in flags, patriotism, or heroes. I am interested only in the people who were there as people.

Most of the people I gossip about happened to be wearing U.S. military uniforms and represented the Stars and Stripes during what was essentially an American war in Vietnam. Contemporary political conditions at Kishine and the 106th, and elsewhere, warrant commentary. But the people I introduce here are merely people who did the variety of things that people do under such circumstances, regardless of their political sentiments.

I dedicate this history to all who were there, but also to everyone who has had to bear the consequences of the politically deemed need for anyone to be there.



I have based this history of Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital on numerous primary and secondary sources of information. My most important sources have been memories, both my own and those of others who have written about their experiences at Kishine Barracks and/or the 106th General Hospital.

Memories, however, are apt to be lost, or faulty or creative. The accuracy of personal accounts in correspondence such as letters or email, in books or on websites, or in recorded interviews, cannot be taken for granted, no matter how seemingly credible the witness. Hence I have devoted independent sections to Memory, Fact checking, Editing, and Corrections (below).

Reports by historians and journalists

3rd-party accounts of matters related to past events such as the Vietnam War -- by scholars, journalists, novelists, film makers, and others who write or dramatize as historians, political analysts, or story tellers -- are important as guides to how public awareness of the event is created and maintained in government and academic institutions and in mass media and entertainment. Here, too, researchers and other consumers of Vietnam War beware -- belief is likely to trump truth.

The "Vietnam War" in the imagination of 21st century classrooms and movie theaters in America and Vietnam, for example, bear practically no resemblance to the war as it was witnessed in real time by those in the combat zones of Souteast Asia -- or in a communication zone such as Japan, in which the 106th General Hospital operated -- or in the United States, where U.S. military personal returned one way or another, alive with memories of perhaps lost limbs or faces, or dead -- or in Vietnam, which was left to clean up the mess of over a decade of mindless military murders and massacres, and destruction.


Electronic databases have become universal ways of collecting and collating information about all manner of topics. Some are accessible only through terminals controlled by the agencies, companies, or individuals who created them.

An increasing number of databases containing information obtained from public records are being made available on the Internet, some with open access, others on a fee basis. I have availed myself of both.

NARA Combat Area Casualties Current File (CACCF)

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has a website called Access to Archival Databases (AAD). The AAD website is a portal to numerous databases created and maintained by NARA, including one called "Combat Area Casualties Current File" (CACCF), which is listed under both "Military Personnel" or "Vietnam War" on the "Browse by Category" menu.

AAD describes the CACCF database as follows.

File Unit: Combat Area Casualties Current File, 6/8/1956 - 1/21/1998
in the Series: Records on Military Personnel Who Died, Were Missing in Action or Prisoners of War as a Result of the Vietnam War, created 1/20/1967 - 12/1998, documenting the period 6/8/1956 - 1/21/1998. - Record Group 330 (info)

Brief Scope: This series contains records of U.S. military officers and soldiers who died as a result of either a hostile or nonhostile occurrence or who were missing in action or prisoners of war in the Southeast Asian combat area during the Vietnam War, including casualties that occurred in Cambodia, China, Laos, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and Thailand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Record Group 330
Series: Records on Military Personnel Who Died, Were Missing in Action or Prisoners of War as a Result of the Vietnam Conflict (CACCF)

What information is in these records?
This series, otherwise known as the Combat Area Casualties Data Base or CACDB, contains records of U.S. military officers and soldiers who died as a result of either a hostile or nonhostile occurrence or who were missing in action or prisoners of war in the Southeast Asian combat area during the Vietnamese Conflict.

Why were these records created?
The agency created this series as the official repository for records on US. military casualties in the Southeast Asian combat areas during the Vietnam Conflict and used the database as the source for official information about U.S. military personnel casualties related to the Vietnam Conflict and for disseminating statistical data concerning them.

[ . . . ]

Well, what was it? A "war" or a "conflict"? And whichever it was, was it a "Vietnam" or a "Vietnamese" event? In Vietnam, it is apt to be called the "Chiến tranh My quốc" ("America War" 米国戦争) or the "Kháng chiến chống My" ("Resistance War Against America" 対米抗戦). "Conflict" doesn't quite capture the scope and the scale of the violence. And "civil war" -- never mind that this expression is an oxymoron -- doesn't account for the extent that the war was so Americanized.

Coffelt Database

The Coffelt Database (CDB) of Vietnam casualities is the brain child, and the fruit of the labor of love, of Richard Coffelt and others. The CDB website describes him as "the first person to make a dedicated effort to identify the unit assignments of the Army's Vietnam dead, and did so with only the assistance of his wife Jo Ann Jennings until the late 1990s." From 1998, others, practically all veterans like himself, have joined him in compiling massive quantities of data on Vietnam veterans from various public records and other sources.

CDB and CACCF have many fields in common, but a few fields are unique to each. See Three soldiers in two casualty databases for a comparison of the kinds of information they contain. Two of the soldiers died at the 106th General Hospital. The third was a brother of a doctor at the 106th, who according to one account had visited the 106th on an R&R.

The strongest feature of the CDB website is the links it has to scans of primary records for not a few of the "casualties" in the database.

The Coffelt Database is also accessible through the above NARA AAD portal. The manner in which the returned data is presented, however, is somewhat different.

Genealogy databases

In research on historical figures, and on my own family history, I have made extensive use of, a commercial subscription-based genealogy resource. Ancestry's databases include scans or transcriptions of all manner of public records, from national censuses and birth, death, marriage, and divorce records, to draft registration cards, passenger manifests, naturalization records, and other civil records, as well as newspapers, city directories, high school and college albums, and other publications that allow one to compile an enormous amount of information about some -- but not all -- individuals and families.

The amount and quality of the information available through will heavily depend on when and where a person lived, as states considerably vary in their laws and policies regarding making public files available on the Internet. Moreover, the availability of information compiled by U.S. government also varies with period.

None of the information available through services like is privileged. All of it is available to anyone who walks into the office of the competent state or federal agency, or the controlling county or municipal registrar, or a cemetery.

The development of computers, database software, and electronic image scanning -- and of course the Internet, which mediates access to an increasing percentage of all available information -- makes it possible for to collect and collate, in just one day, information that would have take months of expensive travel and labor-intensive thumb searching and manual transcribing of the kind I remember doing when a college student before the age of personal computers and the Internet.

Even through portals like, however, information does not fall from virtual trees. You have to learn how to query their databases to find what might -- possibly -- be related to whoever you are looking for. It's easy to spend an hour or two and come up with nothing.

You need at least a family name, and a birth or death date, just to begin to get nothing. Even if your spelling is a bit off, or a date is wrong by a year or two, you might stumble across the person you're looking for. Perfect matches are nice, but you have to rule out the possibility that it might be someone else with the same or similar specs -- hopefully with independent information, even if only a fragment from your or someone's memory.



Memory is always a problem when talking about the past, even if only 5 hours ago, to say nothing of 5 decades. Some things I remember with great confidence because I have never not remembered them. Other things have faded in and out of my memory, though not always in the same manner. And many things I have entirely forgotten.

There are moments when I feel I have recalled names or experiences I thought I had forgotten. At times they appear without stimulation from related thoughts. Other times they float into my mind only after I have had related thoughts. The dilemma of memory is that you can neither ignore such recollections nor take their veracity for granted.


I clearly remember "Murray" as the name of the first patient who died at the 106th General Hospital. How could I forget his name? He died on my watch so to speak, in the spring of 1966. I had drawn his blood, including -- shortly before he died -- at least one blood culture.

The name "Murray" is deeply etched into my memory, also because he was autopsied at another hospital by -- or with the assistance of -- Dr. Pusch, who was the head of the pathology laboratory where I worked. Dr. Pusch brought Murray's brain back to the lab and dissected it in an impromptu anatomy lesson.

I worked mainly in bacteriology but was a histopathology junkie. I obtained a set of Murray's tissue slides, which were among other slides I had collected while working at the lab and took with me when I left. The slides were in my possession until very recently. "Murray" was clearly written on the labels of autopsy slides, which had "106th Gen Hosp" printed on them.

Yet, by the time I got around to writing this history, I couldn't remember Murray's personal name or other things I had once known about him. Was it Geoffrey or Jeffry? Or another name enirely? I was fairly sure, but couldn't have sworn, that he wasn't a draftee. He wasn't old but he was older and had been in the Army awhile.

But I knew with certainly the year and place Murray died. And this, eventually, allowed me to find the Murray I had known, in the vast sea of Murrays who have died while in the miltary.

In many other respects, though, my reconstruction of Murray's difficulties at the 106th General Hospital continues to be plagued by a number of fascinating memory dilemmas, which are evident in my closer look at Virgil Murray (1966) (below).

Fact checking

The most tedious challenge when writing a history like this is "fact checking" or so it is called. This entails determining the factuality of everything you write -- not only of things based on your own or someone else's memory, but of information found in putatively reliable sources, from birth certificates to the most authoritative dictionaries.

The keyword in fact checking is skepticism. No matter how reputed the source of some information, the factuality of the information should never be taken for granted. A lot of information that passes for "fact" turns out, when closely scrutinized, to be someone's "impression" or "opinion" or "bad memory" if not "imagination".

Not only are memories tricky, but official records, and official and academic histories and other reports, can be full of misinformation. Misspellings, wrong dates, faulty descriptions, untrue allegations, and misleading or biased commentary are all "natural fauna" in the jungle of bureacratic, historigraphic, and biographical writing.

In writing this history, I have spent a lot of time trying to confirm the accuracy of the names, dates, and other matters I have written about. My resources, though, are limited, partly by the fact that I am unable to spend years doing the sort of footwork required to examine original records and personally interrogate the people I have written about or their survivors.

As it is, this history relies more on Internet sources than anything else I have written of comparable length and scope. In fact, even ten years ago it would have been impossible to write and illustrate this report as I have. In just the past decade, the Internet has exponentially swelled with data in the form of blogs and vanity sites created by veterans and unit organizations, and government records and newspapers are being scanned and uploaded to servers at accelerating rates.

Fact checking is reaching the point that, if you can't confirm the factuality of something on-line, a relatively efficient process in terms of time consumption and material outlay, you face the diminishing returns of physically exploring actual libraries, archives, and records the "old fashioned" way, with prospects of spending huge amounts of time and money to discover little of earth-shaking value.

The quality of the most carefully confirmed facts, however, can be corrupted by poor editing (next).



All texts in yellow boxes are Citations and texts in green boxes are Comments. All boxed comments, and [bracketed remarks] in cited texts, are mine. Unbracketed ellipses . . . are as received, but bracketed ellipses [ . . . ] are mine.

I have not corrected or otherwise altered the text of any citations. When necessary (and perhaps also in some cases when not really necessary), I have [brackted corrections] in the form "incorrect [sic = correct]". In some cases I have shown just [sic] to stress that the word or phrase it follows is as received and not a transcription or scanning error.

Transcripted and scanned texts

Some citations are my transcriptions of printed texts or images of such. I have endeavored to check that my transcriptions are accurate but there is always the possibility that I overlooked an error of my own making. Numbers are especially problematic.

I have also checked all citations of texts I generated with on-line OCR (optical character reader) image scanning services. When scanning pages of printed text to create electronic text, you have to check the results for scanning errors, no matter how clear the original text.

Certain letters and numbers, and combinations thereof, can be corrupted by even the better optical character reader (OCR) software.

The combination "rm", for example, often comes out "m", and sometimes with amusing consequences. Many instances of "burn" and "burns" came out "bum" and "bums" -- which spelling checkers can't detect, and even the naked eye can miss unless you read very carefully.

The number "1" and lower case "l" and upper case "I" are commonly corrupted. Numbers "3" and "5" and "8" are easily confused and need to be checked when transcribing or scanning texts. "6" and "9" are also subject to visual confusion.

I habitually compute sums and percents of all received statistics in order to confirm that I have transcribed or scanned them accurately. In the process, I sometimes find errors in the received data.

Frankly, I have less confidence in screen editing than in the sort of hard-copy editing I grew up and even old with. Today, when reading printed or electronic publications, I spot more errors than in the past -- errors that have the characteristics of what I call "word processing errors" -- by which I mean errors created by people using word processors to write and then check their writing on a monitor. Occasionally I find such errors in my own writing -- traces of phrases I intended to delete, undetected auto-correction errors, inadvertent spelling checker errors.

Spelling checkers have to be used with care. Grammar checkers are to be turned off. Writing rules are meant to be broken, though with discretion, and always with the ear, not the eye.

In the vetting process, my eyes cross and invariably I miss things. I trust everyone will forgive me, and laugh just as I did, when I first encountered expressions like "bum center" and "bum patients" and "3rd-degree bums" in scanned texts.



I have taken the liberty of weaving the stories of many people into what is ultimately my own story. I have cited numerous public sources, but have also used personal materials, including photographs taken with my camera and letters received from correspondents, without consulting with the people they involve, some with whom I am no longer in touch, others who have passed away.

I have also depended heavily on my memory, which is not always clear, and even when clear cannot always be confirmed by independent objective evidence. No memoir of this scope is free of error, and errors will run the gamut from slight variations in spellings and dates, to confusions of names and places, and otherwise incorrect descriptions and allegations -- on my part, or on the the part of others whose errors I overlooked or was unable to detect.

I welcome all comments, suggestions, and corrections, and will honor requests for deletions of personal information, or of citations or use of any material, that related parties find unacceptable.

Please send your remarks or requests to me through the Contact form and I will reply as soon as I can.


Abbreviations of medical, military, and other terminology

Some reports and records cited in this story of Kishine Barracks contain from several to many military terms and their abbreviations. Some are common to military organizations and operations generally. Some are limited to a particular military branch such as the U.S. Army, or to a specific field su. Some are common also to military organizations in other countries where English is officially used. Many, though, are specific to a particular service, and a few are specific to a particular period or war.

I have listed here, for reference purposes, abbreviations that appear in this story of Kishine Barracks and some related terms of interest.

Abbreviations of medical, military, and other terminology

106th official report terminology

Medical conditions, evacuation, facilities


Surgical Research Unit
Brooke General Hospital
air base
medical holding company
Continental United States
Bachelor Enlisted Men's
Army Post Office
Bachelor Officer [Officers]
Eye(s), Ear(s), Nose, and Throat

Dead or missing




killed in action
killed in action
 / body not recovered
drowned in action
died of wounds
died of wounds
 from friendly fire
died of injuries
died of disease
died of non-battle causes
finding of death
 under Public Law 490
 (legal presumption of
 death of missing man
 after one year or more)

Ranks, corps, and titles


Cpl, Corp
Lieutenant Colonel

Non-Commissioned Officers
Enlisted Men
Command Sergeant Major
Sergeant Major
Master Sergeant
Sergeant 1st Class
Staff Sergeant
Spec 6, Specialist 6
Spec 5, Specialist 5
Spec 4, Specialist 4
Private First Class
Spec 3, Specialist 3
Medical Corps
Dental Corps
Army Nursing Corps
Medical Service Corps
Army Medical Service Corps
Commanding Officer
Commanding Officer's Quarters

Press and media

Associated Press
Stars and Stripes
United Press

States and other entities


Democratic People's
 Republic of Korea
People's Republic of China
Republic of China
Republic of Korea
Republic of Vietnam
United Kingdom
United Nations
United States
United States of America
Soviet Union

Family relationships

husband of
wife of
son of
daughter of






United Service
Expiration of
 Term of Service
Status of Forces
United Nations
Self-Defense Forces


Japanese temrs

This history of Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital is lightly sprinkled with Japanese words and expressions, but some Vietnamese terms, and a few Korean and Chinese terms, also appear. Here I will focus on Japanese, but at the end I will also comment on Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese in relation to Japanese (though linguistically only Japanese and Korean are possibly related).

Japanese sources

I have cited a number of sources that are written in Japanese. All English translations from such sources are mine.

Japanese sources are likely to be faulty for the same reasons that English sources are faulty -- unconfirmed memory or hearsay, failure to check facts, unintended ambiguity, impulses to censure or slant or embellish, and over generalize. Hence I take everything I hear and read in Japanese, beginning with street directions from local residents, with the same sense of caution that I take everything I hear and read in English.

Blind faith in the accuracy of what you are told or taught or learn may get you lost. Researching this history of Kishine and the 106th has been an adventure in finding myself somewhere I didn't expect to be. At times I worried if I'd ever get to where I hoped to be, only to discover that where I hoped to be didn't exist. There were few signs. And for every sign pointing down the right road, there was one pointing down the wrong road, and one pointing into the wilderness.

Japanese words and expressions

When citing a Japanese word or expression, I have generally shown how it would be written in Japanese script and/or Chinese (Sinific, Sino-Japanese) graphs, as well as how it would usually be romanized (alphabetized). I have also of course shown its approximate meaning in English. I have glossed some of the more important words or expressions in greater detail.

Japanese as a language

Japanese is the native language of practically everyone who lives in Japan. My life in Japan, and my life of writing as a journalist and researcher, would have been impossible without learning Japanese.

A lot of people in other countries have gotten the impression that Japanese is a difficult language. But as my first college teacher of Japanese put it on the first day of class, all people in Japan speak Japanese, and half of them are stupid, so it couldn't be that difficult. Well, yes and no. But his point was well made. Linguistically it is not at all difficult. Graphically, most people who are learning Japanese as a foreign or second language have work at the writing and reading. But even that is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance.


Everyone at the 106th, who stepped outside Kishine's gate, quickly realized that they had crossed a linguistic divide. Phrasebooks were common, but they didn't get one very far.

"Kishine" in some ways represents the language -- which, I would point out, is what is spoken and heard, not what is written or read. Scripts -- alphabetic and other symbols -- respresent sounds, but they don't pronounce themselves.

Linguistically, "Kishine" consists of 3 morae -- "ki-shi-ne" -- pronounced roughly "key-she-neh" if representing the sounds in aphabetic script most speakers of English will probably pronounce the way most speakers of Japanese will probably pronounce Japanese moraeic script (kana) -- きしね (hiragana) or キシネ (katakana) -- or 岸根 (kanji), as the word or name would be written in Chinese script.

In English-based aphabetic representations (romanizations), the name is written "Kishine" (Hepburn system) or "Kisine" (Kunrei system). In Japan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs generally uses the Hepburn system, while the Ministry of Education generally uses the Kunrei system. However, the Hepburn system is more popular internationally and more familiar in academic and journalistic writing.

The Japanese placename 岸根 -- read きしね or "ki-s(h)i-ne" -- is written 키시네 -- not 기시네 -- in Korean hangŭl. The former would be alphabatized as either "K'isine" (academic or phonemic McCune-Reischauer) or "K'ishine" (popular or phonetic McCune-Reischauer) -- or as "Kishine" (Revised Romanization of Korean, ROK Ministry of Culture standard) -- or as "Khisiney" (Yale). The latter would be romanized "Kis(h)ine" (McCune-Reishauer), Gisine (ROK), or Kisiney (Yale). But who would want to do this?

The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) representations used by some linguists, Kishine would be written "ki-ɕi-ne". The approximate English values are as follows.

k    k as in skate
i   ee as in meet
ɕ   sh as in sheep
i   ee as in meet
n    n as in not
e    e as in met

However, some people who passed through Kishine Barracks or the 106th General Hospital have spelled Kishine in various ways -- including Kishini, Kishina, Kashine, Kashina, and even Kashini -- apparently in accordance with how they remembered hearing the word. It's a chicken-egg question.

There is only one Google return for "Kisine Barracks", on the Facebook page of a "Bud Schofield", who states under "Life Events" that he "Moved to Yokohama, Japan / January 10, 1960 / Kisine Barracks USMC". On the surface, he would appear to have been in the U.S. Marine Corps, which contributes to the developing image of Kishine Barracks as a multi-service Army facility.

So when doing on-line research for on the history of "Kishine", I Googled all of the above "variations" just to be sure I wasn't missing anything. Most likely, though, somewhere out there in cyberspace, there's a truly odd spelling that slipped through my imagination.

Some people have remembered "Camp Kishini Barracks Hospital" as being at "Yokuska Naval". Yokohama, Yokota, and Camp Zama sometimes come out Yokahama, Yakota, and Camp Zuma, among other spellings. A few have placed Kishine in Tokyo, and one writer has located "Kashini Barracks" in Korea.

The linguistic origins of spelling corruptions

"Yokoska" is an unconventional spelling but it reflects a good ear. As spelling corruptions, "Kishini", "Yokahama", "Yakota", and "Zuma" and the like reflect bad ears or bad memories.

Native speakers master the sounds of a language before they learn how to represent it in script. One can grow up and die of old age, never having learned to read, much less write, and be a totally competent speaker of the language. As I say, writing is not language.

Non-native speakers who flirt with a language whose sounds they have not mastered through the ear, to the point that they can immediately recognize off-key or odd pronunciations, and local dialects and foreign accents, and who develop the habit of learning and maintaining the language through alphabetic script, are apt to visualize the sounds in terms of the script. And when they internalize or recall odd pronunciations of a word, they are likely to "spell" the word oddly. Hence some of the odd spellings in printed and web sources.

Some reasons some speakers of English have trouble with some Japanese words

English is notorious for its resistance to the repetition of some vowels but especially "o" (oh). Hence "Yokohama" and "Yokota" commonly come out "Yokahama" and "Yokata" or even "Yakota" in the mouths of natives speakers of English who are not familiar with Japanese.

English speakers have less trouble repeating "ah", hence the shift of "oh" to "ah". Japanese "kimono" -- key-moh-noh -- has so commonly been anglicized (accented or corrupted by English) as "kimona" that this spelling appears in some dictionaries and in the fashion industry. However, English speakers usually don't have a lot of difficulty with "yukata" (you-kah-tah) or "katakana" (kah-tah-kah-nah) because English is kinder to repetitions of "a". English speakers unfamiliar with Japanese segmentation, however, are likely to syllablize "hiragana" as "HERE-rah-GA-nah" rather than "hee-rah-gah-nah".

Japanese sounds

A non-native speaker of Japanese with a good ear -- who can memorize and write in diction the kana script (hiragana and katakana) used to represent the 46 standard mora, and the limited number of ways in which they are combined to create other sounds, which requires only a few days -- can correctly write whatever Japanese words he or she clearly hears. The only "spelling bees" in Japanese involve the writing of Chinese characters or graphs.

Spelling English words is a challenge to native speakers and non-native learners of English alike, for they have to learn multiple possible spellings of each sound, and memorize the specific spellings of each word.

Japanese sounds -- vowels and consonants -- are easy, and sound combinations are very regular. Unlike English, a syncopated stess-based language, Japanese is practically metronomic. Whereas English gives more time to stressed styllables (with full vowels) and less time to unstressed syllables (with reduced vowels), Japanese allocates about the same amount of time to each mora, meaning a vowel (V), consonant-vowel (CV), or terminal consonant (-C). Stress (emphasis by strengh) as a linguistic (rather than emotional) quality is important in English, whereas pitch (level or frequency) is more characteristic of Japanese.

Both "Toyota" and "Nikon" in Japanese are 3-morae words -- "to-yo-ta" pronounced "toe-yo-tah" and "ni-ko-n" pronounced "knee-koh-ng" or "knee-kohng" (not "knee-cone"). In English, though, these words are anglicized (syllablized and stressed) as "toy-OH-tah" and "NIGH-con" -- "nigh" as in "high" and "con" as in "convict".

The 5 vowels in Japanese are a-i-u-e-o pronounced ah-ee-oo-eh-oh -- approximately "a" as in "awe" and "saw", "i" as in "he" and "she", "u" as in "you" and "sue", "e" as in "met" and "set", and "o" as in "boat" and "so" -- but all short and crisp whether alone or following a consonant. When long they are doubled. Pitch and stress are different matters.

The consonants k/g, s/z, t/d, h/p/b, n, m, and r appear initially before all the vowels a, i, u, e, and o -- ka, ga . . . ra -- ko, go . . . ro.

The consonant y used today only with a, u, and o. In the past, it was also used with e, and may be found in fossilized romanizations like "yen" and "Inouye".

The consonant w is today limited to a and o. Historically, it was also used with i and o, and is sometimes found in fossilized romanizations. Just as older spellings of English words can be used to "antique" a word, ye, wi, and we are sometimes used, along with other historical forms, to create the illusion of older language.

The pronunciation of terminal -n is "-ng" but it will be "-n" or "-m" if followed by "t" or "m" -- hence "wangan" (gulf) will be wang-gang, "wantan" (wanton soup) will be wan-tang, and wanman (one man) will be wam-mang, while "wanman basu" (one-man bus, i.e., a bus with only a driver and no conductor) will be wam-mam-ba-su. Think of how the "n" in the negative prefix "in-" assimilates with the following sound in English -- "regular" (irregular), "legal" (illegal), "possible" (impossible).

Japanese "su" is reduced in some words in some dialects, hence "desu" is "de-su" in Kyoto and "des" in Tokyo. "Suki desu" (I like [something]) is "Ski des" in Tokyo but "Su-ki de-su" (or "su-ki do-su") in Kyoto. "Yo-ko-su-ka" is usually "Yokoska" in the Kanto (Tokyo-Yokohama) area, hence the tendency of some English speakers to spell it this way, while people in the Kansai (Kyoto-Osaka) area who haven't learned the place name through the ear may read 横須賀 (横 yoko 須 su 賀 ka) (よ yo こ ko す su か ka) as 4 morae.

Other linguistic effects in Japanese result in the doubling of some consonants -- kk, ss, tt, pp. A few other sounds also shift in specific environments. On the whole, such effects are fairly predictable.

The "f" in the Hepburn romanization of "h" as in "ha, hi, fu, he, ho" is labial (between opposed lips), not dental-labial (upper teeth on lower lip). Hence the "f" of "Fuji" is not like the "f" of "fool" but more like "who" made with the lips.

Some originally non-Japanese consonants have been accommodated by Japanese orthography. The best example is the increasing use of "v", which until recently was represented by "b".

Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese

In this history of Kishine and the 106th, I have sometimes shown Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese words or phrases in various scripts. These 3 languages have something in common in that none are linguistically related to Chinese.

Among these 4 languages, including Chinese, only Japanese and Korean are possibly related to each other linguistically. However, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese are commonly related to Chinese through their histories of extensive borrowings from Chinese, and their use of Chinese writing before they developed native or other writing systems.


Chinese is written in Chinese graphs, which I generally represent in the Wage-Giles or Pinyin systems of romanization, depending on the source.


Korean today is written mainly in hangul, a phonetic (nearly phonemic) script, but may include a few Chinese (Sino-Korean) graphs. In the past, Korean writing was a heavy mixure of hangul and Chinese graphs, just as Japanese today continues to make extensive use of Chinese (Sino-Japanese) graphs along with moraic kana (both hiragana and katakana) script. I have generally represented Korean words in the McCune-Reischauer system of romanization.


Vietnamese is today entirely represented in an alphabetic script first introduced in the 17th century, then more fully developed and implemented in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Until then, Vietnamese was written in Chinese graphs, comparable to the way Korean and Japanese made use of Chinese graphs, both to represent Chinese words in Vietnamese, and to represent the sounds of Vietnamese words.

Like Korean and Japanese, Vietnamese is linguistically unrelated to Chinese, but like Korea and Japan, Vietnam came under the influence of China and Chinese writing, long before it had a writing system of its own. Hence, historically, the use of Chinese (Sino-Vietnamese) graphs in what is sometimes call "Siniform" writing but which I call "Sinific" writing.

In this history, mostly from my own interest, I have shown the Chinese (Sino-Vietnamese) graphs for some Vietnamese personal names, place names, and formal expressions. I do not speak, and cannot read or write, or otherwise understand Vietnamese. But some Sinific Vietnamese words and expressions make sense as Sinific words and expressions.

"Vietnam" (越南) means a country "south (南 nam) of Viet (越)" -- "Viet" being a country that existed in the southern part of early China, immediately north of the present border between Vietnam and China. Migrations south from China resulted in Chinese influence and even control over the northern part of what is now Vietnam, similar to the influence and control that China excercised over Korea at times in its long and convoluted history.

"Vietnam" did not emerge as a name until around the 16th century. Before that, the names of the northern area of what is now Vietnam were Annam (安南), which goes back to the 7th century, and Tonkin (東京), which was an alternate name of the area, and of the capital city that later became Hanoi (河內). Depending on the period of history, and the government or governments in control of the area that became Vietnam, "Annam" has also referred to its central part, its central and southern parts, and even its entirety.

During the Tang dynasty (618-907), the northern part of what is now Vietnam was a province of China called Annam (安南). During the 10th century, Annam broke away from China but remained closely influenced by China, which attempted at times to reclaim the area as a province.

The name of the capital of ancient Annam was at times Tonkin (東京), which some people used to refer to Annam itself. Tonkin -- also Tonking, Tongking, and Dong Kinh -- is the Sino-Vietnamese pronuciation of 東京, which means "eastern capital". In Sino-Japanese, the name can be read Tōkyō or Tōkei, or even Tōkin.

The imperial capital of Japan for over a millennium, from the Heian period (794-1185), which overlapped with the Tang period and China, to the end of Tokugawa era (1603-1868), was Kyōto (京都). In 1868, the city of Edo (江戸) became the capital, and Edo was graphically renamed 東京, which some people read Tōkyō and others Tōkei. Both names appear in kana representations (such as furigana on woodblock prints) and alphabetic representations (such as postal frankings), but Tōkyō quickly became the standard name of the city.

Because 東京 was historically associated with Vietnam, some publishers in Japan graphed the name of the new capital of Japan 東亰 instead of 東京, using 亰 instead of 京. See Tonichi mastheads: The character of calligraphy for details.

Chinese characters were still evident in Vietnam at the time of the Vietnam War. I specifically ask a friend of mine who was then in Army and serving in Vietnam as an interrogator. See Andy Fountain (below) for his observations of Chinese calligraphy.

Cultural stereotypes

Don't expect a lot of talk about "Japanese culture" in my telling of the history of Kishine and the 106th in Yokohama. What little I say about life in Japan is intended only to clarify the meaning of something that comes up in one of my stories.

My understanding of "culture" is not what most people think of when they use the word. In my view, there is really no such thing as "a" culture in any country. "Japanese culture" is a figment of "culturalist" imagination that feeds "cultural determinism" -- the belief that a nation of people "are" whatever they are perceived to be "because" they are products of a "common heritage".

"Heritage" is ultimately a personal matter and comes mostly from family and other very local communal experiences. No humans share a heritage so "common" that they aren't first humans and second individuals. "Cultural" sharing is relatively limited, especially in a country as geographically large and diverse as Japan.

Everyone born and raised in Japan -- and everyone who has just recently stepped off the boat or deboarded a plane from another country in Japan -- shares exposure to whatever elements of life they encounter and experience in Japan -- individually. Whether or not, and to what extent, a person is affected by what he or she experiences will depend on all manner of personal factors which may or may not be shared with others. Everyone in the same family can be, and usually will be, different in many ways -- never mind their exposure to a common environment. In real life, I find I have little use for cultural stereotypes.

In the end, you mediate only what you absorb and express. As you get older, the process of becoming acquainted with something new is a bit more conscious. Awareness of everything that has already become part of you inhibits spontaneous acceptance of something new. The old and the new become rivals for mediation.

Take, for example, shaking hands, or hi-fiving, or bowing. If you're used to making decisions about whether and how to shake hands, and whether and how to execute a hi-five or other such greeting or parting or acknowledgment, but not used to bowing, then bowing will probably require conscious effort. Should you shake hands or bow? Or both? At some point, though, such decisions become reflexive.

Until your responses to new conditions become second nature, you will find yourself negotiating between new and old choices and endeavoring to avoid being awkward in situations that you are not used to -- not yet "accustomed" or "acculturated" to. Eventually, though, the "new" becomes as familiar as the "old" and you accommodate the new as appropriately as the old.

After becoming reflexively "bicultural" with respect to social behaviors like "handshaking" and "bowing" -- each of which involves choices of the kind or degree of handshaking and/or bowing -- you will still have to deal with the different ways that others will approach or react to you, on a case-by-case, one-on-one basis. For in the real world, there is no such thing as a pervasive one-size-fits-all "Japanese culture" or "Japanese way" -- but only individuals who may be nationals of Japan but are first and foremost humans with personalities and idiosyncrasies before they are "Japanese".

Not all Japanese dance to the same music. And those who do dance to the same music are likely to do so differently for personal reasons. Hence you will notice that I do not speak of things like "the Japanese", because there are roughly 125 million Japanese, including myself. If you live here, and know a lot of people who have lived here all or most of their lives (which I prefer to "life"), you will recognize that everyone is an individual, and that individuality matters when it comes to things that matter -- like friendships, partnerships, and rivalries.

I can't think of a single thing that Japanese collectively do in such unison that they can properly be thought of as "the Japanese" -- or otherwise be the subject of declarations like "Japanese people love nature". This sort of grammar is typical of generalizations that undermine the ability to recognize the diversity and variety that one ought, from the start, to expect of a country of 125 million people. Even a population of 125 or a group of 12 or 13 Japanese would defy collective "they are" generalizations other than those like "They are nationals of Japan" in which you can be sure that everyone in the class in fact shares the same trait -- in this case, possession of Japan's nationality.

So my descriptions of Japan and Japanese are full of nuancing qualifications like most, many, some, a few, few -- and I eschew the temptation to reduce the complexities of life in Japan to lock-step, all-hearts-beat-to-the-same-drummer superlatives like "all" or "no one". I reserve global cut-and-dry, black-and-white generalizations and superlatives for the very rare occasions when they might actually be warranted. I drive editors who want to keep things simple and save words crazy.

Basically, I am not especially interested in what most people consider "culture". My settling in Japan, and my acquisition of Japanese nationality, were not motivated by a desire to learn more than a survivalist minimum about Japanese foods, Japanese religions, Japanese festivals, Japanese music and dance, temples and shrines, fashions and arts, and the myriad other "things Japanese" that consume the attention of many people, Japanese and foreigners alike, and have inspired tens-of-thousands of books in Japanese and thousands in English and other languages. I take "things Japanese" in stride -- as part of my daily background and occasionally my foreground.

What little I have learned about such things has been through the agency of curiosity about the human condition in Japan -- what motivates ordinary people, as living beings, in their struggle to make sense of their lives as individuals and social animals, blessed or cursed with the capacities and qualities we call "human" in order to differentiate ourselves from monkeys, mice, millipedes, and monsters.

People ask me if I get along with my "Japanese neighbors" or if I have a "Japanese wife" or "mixed kids". I say I have neighbors -- everyone who lives in a neighborhood anywhere in the world has neighbors -- and most of my neighbors are Japanese. But I have no "Japanese" neighbors. I have only neighbors. And of course I get along with them. Isn't that what neighbors are for? To get along with? Some people then say, "I meant do they accept you?" To which I say, "I accept them, and that's all that matters to me. Whether someone accepts me is their business."

I had a wife -- a female spouse, which because we were legally married made her my wife, which is not to say that I possessed her. And she happened to be Japanese. But she was just a woman, just my wife, just the mother of our -- her and my -- children. We were just another couple, just another family.

My children, like every child ever born between two parents, are mixtures of their parental genes. I'm a mixture of my mother's and father's genes. Their mother is a mixture of her mother's and father's genes. They are thus mixtures of the genes of 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 great-great grandparents, and 32 great-great-great grandparents. So, yes, my kids are definitely very mixed.

Journalists and scholars -- I used to say "even scholars" but along the way I realized there is no reason why scholars should know better -- from America or Germany or Korea have asked me my views of "Japanese suicide", having gotten the impression of things I've written that I am an "expert" on the subject. I quickly clarify that I have been only a "student" of suicide generally -- "human suicide" including "suicide in Japan" -- but not of "Japanese suicide". There is no such thing as "Japanese" suicide for all the reasons I have suggested in my writing on suicidal behaviors. All suicidal acts are different. All are motivated by personal human factors. Most writing on suicide as something determined by "culture" are not about suicide as a behavior, but about how people who don't commit suicide deal with suicide. Japan is far from being the only country in the world in which some dramas, films, and novels have depicted suicide as an alternative to remaining alive come what may. Such representations of suicide are in fact fairly universal. Moreover, entertainment and other media in Japan have also, over the centuries, presented suicide as something that one should not resort to. Other than in cases where "self-execution" was a prescribed punishment for members of the warrior caste who violated laws that applied to them, taking ones own life in Japan has always been a personal choice -- even when done in desperation or when under duress.

I didn't used to think this way. It took me a few years to rid myself of the "national character" stereotypes that were common in my own education half a century ago, and which most teachers in schools everywhere are still spreading. Stereotypes have the single merit of keeping things simple so you don't have to think. Belief that national "culture" or "blood" determine character is a thought-terminating concept -- if such thinking can be dignified as a "concept". Expecting that someone who happens to be Japanese knows something about "tea ceremony" or "kabuki" or "anime" or "Buddhism" -- or has an interest in such things -- is to risk being disappointed -- as disappointed as a zealous Japanese student of English literature will be to learn that their American seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight has never seen a Shakespeare play and may not even know where Shakespeare lived, or recall what they read by Hemingway. And they might not know, or care to know, about why there are U.S. military bases in Japan.

The sort of allegations I have made here fly in the face of "conventional wisdom" practically everywhere. I will humor "culture" talk to be polite, but not for long. I take advantage of, or create, openings in which I can get down to the business of warning people coming to Japan that people in Japan are no different from people anywhere. They love and kill each other, themselves, and others, and eat or starve, and laugh or cry, for essentially the same reasons that, say, British, Germans, Chinese, Nigerians, Filipinos, and Americans do -- and for the same reason, that they are human -- and no two Japanese, no two humans, are the same.

Wars like the Pacific War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War should be proof enough that the only issues that really divide nations are the same issues that divide members of the same family or neighborhood -- territorial and economic greed and jealousy, exacerbated by the propensity to dehumanize each other. And dehumanization begins with "group-think" stereotypes.


2017 Kanagawa News article on Kishine Barracks and 106th General Hospital

In July 2017 I received email from Yuuki Takahashi (Takahashi Yūki 高橋融生), an editor with Kanagawa News (Kanagawa shinbun 神奈川新聞), stating that he had seen my webpage on Kishine Barracks (the original shorter version of this expanded edition) and wanted to interview me for an article in a series he was writing on the impact of the Vietnam War on Kanagawa prefecture and the continuing effects of the presence of U.S. Forces in Japan on the prefecture. He came to my home, he ask me questions about my military service and experiences at Kishine, my views of the Vietnam War, and my opinions about a number of political issues related to how wars are remembered, and whether or not Kishine's role in the Vietnam War should be remembered. The article was published as the first of three from 8 September 2017.

Mr. Takahashi shared the galleys with me to solicit corrections and other feedback, which he incorporated into the final copy. The photograph he took of me at my home was featured with the article, which also ran one of my photos of a helicopter lifting off the pad at Kishine. The article concluded with the observation that 50 years after I had been at Kishine Park as an American, I had visited Kishine Park as a Japanese national. See William Wetherall (1965-1966, 2016): "What war, what barracks, what hospital?".

Kanagawa shinbun article Click on image for higher resolution scan
Kishine no shōbyō-hei-tachi
[Wounded and sick soldiers at Kishine]

Kanagawa no Betonamu Sensō [Kanagawa's Vietnam War], Part 1
By Takahashi Yūki, Kanagawa shinbun, 8 September 2017, page 21
Kanagawa shinbun article Shimin to hei: Hansen sakenda
[Citizens and soldiers: Shouted against war]

Kanagawa no Betonamu Sensō [Kanagawa's Vietnam War], Part 2
By Takahashi Yūki, Kanagawa shinbun, 9 September 2017, page 21
Kanagawa shinbun article Shinka suru kankei: Kyōkun wa
[Deepening relations: Lessons]

Kanagawa no Betonamu Sensō [Kanagawa's Vietnam War], Part 3
By Takahashi Yūki, Kanagawa shinbun, 10 September 2017, page 21


Entrance 106th General Hospital, APO 96503
Cover of received report, 1969

106th General Hospital official report (1969)

The following texts and tables are reproduced from a copy of an official guide to the 106th General Hospital, compiled in 1968 and early 1969 and published in 1969. Most of the data is from 1968, but the personnel data is dated 9 January 1969.

From paper to hypertext

The received report had 13 pages in addition to a cover. I produced the html versions shown below by first making jpg scans of each page and then creating text files by scanning the jpg images with OCR software. I then formatted the text in html and edited the text against the text of the the original report.

All [bracketed remarks], information highlighted in red, and boxed comments are mine. Illegible text is represented by bracketed ellipses [ . . . ].


I received a copy of the report from Michael Caines, who had been a burn patient at the 106th. He had received his copy from Harold Rubin, who received an original copy at the time it was issued, when he was in charge of the 106th's Pharmaeceutial Services

I came across Michael's name on an Internet forum in which he stated that he had a copy of the report. I contacted him by email, and he sent me a copy and put me in touch with Harold. I am grateful to both men for sharing their time and experiences with me.

Both Michael and Harold arrived after I left, and I have met them only through email. Michael had left before Harold arrived, but the two men later crossed paths and remain friends.

As a laboratory technician whose rounds at times included the burn ward, I would probably have drawn Michael's blood had I been there when he was. Even if Harold had been there when I was there, I would not have had reason to make his acquiantance, for the medical librarian I liked didn't move with the medical library, from the laboratory building to the Hospital Clinic building, where the pharmacy was located, until after I left.

See Michael Caines (1967-1968) and Harold Rubin (1968-1970) below for more about their service and experiences.


Unit history



The 106th General Hospital was originally activated at New Oreleans [sic = Orleans], Louisiana, on 15 July 1943, as the 286th Station Hospital. The unit was activated at 500 beds, expanded to 750 beds in ten days, and had 1,000 beds by December 1943. On 23 December 1943, the unit was redesignated the 106th General Hospital. The hospital underwent basic unit training at Fort McClellan, Alabama through June of 1944, at which time it was deployed to Britain where it was stationed outside London. The unit actively supported the European Theater during the Second World War, handling a balanced load of medical and surgical cases with a specialty in neurosurgery. The unit was returned to the United States in August 1945, and assigned to Camp Sibert, Alabama, where it was deactivated on 4 October 1945.

The unit was allocated to the Regular Army on 17 November 1959, and reactivated on 1 December 1959 at William Beaumont General Hospital, El Paso, Texas. During the period from activation until it was alerted for overseas movement, the unit underwent parallel training with William Beaumont. From 1959 through 1965, the hospital underwent several T0&E [Table of Organization and Equipment] reorganizations and changes and STRAF [Strategic Army Force] re-classifications. On 2 September 1965, the unit was allerted [sic = alerted] for deployment to an overseas area. The personnel of the hospital traveled from El Paso to Yokohama on four aircraft during the period from 12 through 16 December 1965. On 15 December 1965, the medical assemblage arrived at North Pier, Yokohama. The hospital was operational 72 hours later on 18 December.

During the first two and one-half years of operation the hospital has admitted and treated over 16,000 patients evacuated from Vietnam. The primary workload of the hospital has been surgical with a specialty as the Burn Center of the Far East.

Meritorious Unit Commendation   On 2 December 1969, a few months after the 106th published its report, the Department of the Army awarded the 106th General Hospital a Meritorious Unit Commendation in recognition of the services it provided "in support of medical care for patients evacuated from the Republic of Vietnam during the period December 1965 to December 1968." Similar commendations were also given to the 249th General Hospital and 406th Medical Laboratory. See Department of the Army, General Orders No. 75, 2 December 1969 for the full citations.





HISTORY: Kishine Barracks was constructed in 1956 and 1957 on farmland owned by the Japanese Government. The installation was transfered [sic = transferred] to the U.S. Army on 1 June 1967 in exchange for some U.S. Forces property in the Tokyo area. It was originally occupied by Troop Command, Army Transportation Terminal Command, Japan and U.S. Army Personnel Center, Far East. On 15 December 1965 the 106th General Hospital replaced the Personnel Center, which moved to Camp Zama.

LOCATION: Kishine Barracks is located in Kanagawa Prefecture approximately 4 miles north of Yokohama and 17 miles south of Tokyo. The installation is 35 acres, triangular in shape, 0.37 miles wide and 0.18 miles long. National Highway #1 extends along the southeastern portion and National Highway #16 extends along the southwestern portion of the installation.

Latitude  35 29' N
Longitude 139 37' E

BUILDINGS: The installation consists of 18 permanent building with 325,865 square feet, and 20 semi-permanent buildings with 77,979 square feet. There are 2 temporary buildings with 167 square feet. Estimated replacement cost of land and buildings is $27,274,000. Annual maintenance and support cost is $276,300.

The description of the LOCATION is a bit odd. Kishine Barracks was in Yokohama -- in Kōhoku ward in the northern part of the city. The "Yokohama" that is said to be 4 miles south of Kishine refers to the older part of Yokohama along the central part of the waterfront.

The "Tokyo" that is said to be 17 miles north of Kishine refers to the nearest border of Tokyo prefecture. The heart of the city is considerably farther.

National Routes 1 and 16 do not extend along any portion of the Kishine area. They pass through the far-flung general area around Kishine and intersect with prefectural roads that approach Kishine.

The road that climbed the hill in front of the entrance was then and is still commonly known as Suidō-michi (水道道) [waterway street] or Suidō-dōro (水道道路) [waterway road]. The name reflects the history of the road along an old water course. This is the name of the local stretch of what is more formally called Yokohama City Road Route 85 / Tsurumi-station -- Mitsuzawa line (横浜市主要地方道85号鶴見駅三ツ沢線). The road intersects at the bottom of the hill with a stretch of Kanagawa Prefecture Route 12 (神奈川県道12号) known as Yokohama Kamiasao Line (横浜上麻生線). The intersection is known as Nishi-Kishine (西岸根交差点).





1. To maintain and operate 1000 hospital beds for definitive inpatient treatment, to include medical and surgical care in support of military personnel evacuated from SEA and local Army personnel assigned to Kishine Barracks and North Pier, Yokohama under a 60-day evacuation policy.

2. To provide outpatient medical, surgical, and dental care for authorized personnel assigned to North Pier, Yokohama and Kishine Barracks.

3. To operate an intermediate burn center.

4. To provide consultation service covering the various medical and surgical specialties, as requested or directed.

5. To accomplish physical examinations (less flight physicals) for personnel authorized primary medical support.

6. To provide only emergency treatment to authorized dependents. Make such arrangements as necessary to transfer or refer such patients requiring such treatment to the US Army Hospital, Camp Zama or other appropriate militaryPathology (hematology, urinalysis) facilities.

7. To provide medical instruction and training support to USARJ [United States Army Japan] non-medical units in the Yokohama vicinity as requested.

8. To perform the functions of installation commander for the CG [Commanding General], USAMCJ [United States Army Medical Corps] as outlined in USARJ Regulation 10-1.

9. To provide such other medical support as may be directed.





COL Alexander M. Boysen, MC
COL Paul A. LaVault, MSC
CPT David D. Gibson, MSC
COL Harry B. Burkett, MC
LTC Raymond J. Bagg Jr., MC
MAJ Jerry D. Ballard, MC
LTC Helen L. McCormick, ANC
LTC James L. Andrews, DC
CPT Henri C. Theodore, MC
CPT John J. Gisvold, MC
CPT Harold Rubin, MSC
LTC Joe B. Gipson
MAJ William M. Collyer, MSC
LTC Lyman Blakesley, MSC
MAJ Dorothy Mount, AMSC
LTC Hugh J. McKenna, CHC
CSM Robert C. Dalehite
Commandlng Officer
Executive Officer
C, Prof Svc
C, Surg Svc
C, Med Svc
C, Nurs Svc
C, Dental Svc
C, Path Svc
C, Rad Svc
C, Pharm Svc
C, Pers Div
C, Reg Div
C, S&S Div
C, Food Svc
C, Chaplain
Command Sergeant Major

COL   Colonel
LTC   Lieutenant Colonel
MAJ   Major
CPT   Captain
CSM   Command Sergeant Major

MC   Medical Corps
DC   Dental Corps
ANC   Army Nursing Corps
MSC   Medical Service Corps
AMSC   Army Medical Service Corps

C   Chief





General Med
Chest & Comm
Cli Psych
Social Work
General Surg
Thorac Surg
Anes & Opr
Physical Med
Mil Pers.
Medical Co.
Med Hold Co.
Welfare &
A & B
Med Records
  & Reports
Hosp Treas.
Hosp Clinic
OR Nursing
Anes Nursing
Oral Dg
Oral Surgery
Property Mgt
PLAN & Tng Div
Diet Therapy
Production &





THROUGH 31 Dec 68


Everyday during the past year the 106th General Hospital has:
Admitted 37 patients from Vietnam of which 30 were surgical cases and 7 were medical. 23 of these patients were injured as a result of hostile action. Each patient was hospitalized 21.9 days. The hospital discharged 37 patients of which 28 were Army and 9 were Navy/Marine. 29 of these patients were transferred to CONUS [Continental United States] hospitals and 8 were returned to duty. In treating these patients, 30 Operating Room procedures were performed, 258 X-rays were taken, 2014 Lab procedures were performed, and 33 units of blood were prepared. The Dental Clinic treated 44 patients, and the mess hall served 2261 meals. 4487 pieces of mail were delivered and 38 personnel records were received and processed. $2335.00 was sent [sic = spent] on consumable medical supplies and $604.00 was invested in medical equipment. In providing this service 5395 permanent party man-hours were expended.

I found this especially interesting. I would never have thought of comparing the number of lab procedures performed every day to the number of meals the mess hall served. Judging from the variety and volume of work that was done at the pathology lab when I was there in 1966, I would guess that most of the lab procedures in 1968 were also related to blood work. A request to draw blood would typically call for several procedures -- from routine blood cell counts, and differentials and hematocrits, to one or more specific blood chemistry tests. The number of meals served seems low -- considering that the report says the operating strength was 649 military personnel and 258 civilians, and an undisclosed average number of patients on any given day. Presumably the civilians packed their own lunches. But surely the patients, and most of the military personnel, ate on base, and I would think they most likely ate food prepared by the mess hall.





1 Jan - 31 Oct 68

MAJ AMP (Lower Extrem)
Fx Femur
Fx Tibia
Thoracic Wds
ABD Wds W/Gu Involvement
ABD Wds W/Colostomy
ABD Wds W/Liver Inj
Maj Vascular Inj
Maj Burns
Maxillo-Facial Inj





Labor costs: Consumables but not expendables

The red figures are mine. I calculate an overall average of 18.12 "days lost" per patient (65,544 total days lost / 3,451 total patients). At face value this would seem to mean about 2.5 weeks of hospitalization per patient.

The "days lost" metaphor suggests that Army statisticians view soldiers as employees who provide labor in return for pay -- which, in a sense, they are. What is not reflected in such figures is the "days lost" in the name of the labor required to evacuate and care for the sick, injured, and wounded. Presumably this cost is higher than the average per-capita cost of maintaining an average soldier in the war zone.

The costs of providing the long-term, even life-long care that the seriously injured and wounded have require is of course another "cost factor" that government bean counters and fund allocators have to consider. Soldiers and veterans may still be "consumables" but they are no longer "expendables".

The more serious the conditions, the shorter the stay

Notice that the hospitalizations of malaria, hepatitis, and psychiatry patients -- all medical rather than surgical admissions -- are longer than all of the surgical conditions except fractured femurs. Patients that presented more difficult conditions, that would require longer periods of convalescence and rehabilitation, tended to have the shortest hospitalizations at Kishine.



Burns 106th General Hospital burn statistics
1966, 1967, and 1968 through June
Page 8 of 1969 report as scanned

Treatment ● "Tx" means "treatment". At the time, the two most common approaches to controlling infections in open burns were silver nitrate (AGNO3), a more traditional treatment, and sulfamylon (mafenide acetate), which had been more recently introduced. Both were topically applied in various ways -- silver nitrate in the form of soaks, in which gauze soaked with silver nitrate was placed directly on an exposed burn -- and sulfamylon in the form of an antimicrobial cream. "Open Tx" was just that -- leaving the burn exposed with no topical treatment.

Disposition ● More burn patients were evacuated from the 106th to facilities in the United States than were returned to duty.

Deaths ● 101 of the 106th's 1,407 major burn patients died -- 76 at the 106th, 23 at Brooke General Hospital (BGH) at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, and 2 at Tachikawa Airbase presumably en route to BGH.

Evacuation ● 411 or 29.2 percent of the 106th's 1,407 major burn patients were evacuated to the Surgical Research Unit (SRU) at Brooke Army Hospital (BGH), which amounted to 49.8 percent of all patients evacuated from the 106th.

The Surgical Research Unit (SRU) at Brooke General Hospital (BGH) treated patients with infected burns and other wounds on a special ward. This evolved into today's U.S. Army Burn Center at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston (L.C. Cancio and S.E. Wolf, "A History of Burn Care", in Marc G. Jeschke et al., editors, Handbook of Burns: Volume 1: Acute Burn Care, New York: Springer-Wien, 2012, page 8).

Causes ● That more major burns in Vietnam were caused by accidents than by "injury resulting from hostile action" (IRHA) has often been cited as an example of the tragedy of war zone injuries that could have been prevented. See other reports (below). Among the causes of IRHAs, "RPG" refers to "rocket-propelled grenades".


U.S. Army reports on medical support in Vietnam made the following observations about the role of the 106th General Hospital concerning "secondary care" for surgery patients, especially those that required orthopedic surgery, and "burns" [bracketed remarks mine].

Secondary care

Secondary wound care, which included the management of wound closure, wound breakdown, wound infection, stabilization of long bone defects, and similar problems, was not ordinarily handled in Vietnam. Although reexploration for surgical complications indicated by fever, pain, excessive drainage, or vascular compromise was encouraged whenever and wherever they appeared, most secondary wound care took place after the patient was evacuated to the 106th General Hospital, in Yokohama, Japan; the U.S. Air Force Hospital at Clark AFB [Philippines]; Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii; or CONUS [continental United States].

Source   Orthopedic Surgery in Vietnam, Medical Department, United States Army Surgery in Vietnam, Orthopedic Surgery, Editor for Orthopedic Surgery, Colonel William E. Burkhalter, MC USA (Ret.), Chapter 1: The Soldier and His Wound in Vietnam, Colonel John A. Feagin, Jr., MC, USA (Ret.), The Milieu, Care of the Soldier's Wound, page 9.


The most unfortunate aspect of the burn injuries incurred in Vietnam was that more than half were accidental and therefore preventable. Burns associated with enemy fire, while fewer in number, accounted for almost 70 percent of the fatalities because of their severity and associated wounds. A factor in the high mortality was that most combat burns occurred in an enclosed space, such as an armored personnel carrier or a bunker, and were, therefore, complicated by inhalation injuries.

Burn cases were stabilized in-country and then evacuated to the 106th General Hospital in Japan, where a special burn unit had been established. Of the burns treated by the 106th, 27 percent returned to duty, 66 percent were evacuated to the burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Tex., and 7 percent died.

Source   VIETNAM STUDIES, MEDICAL SUPPORT OF THE U.S. ARMY IN VIETNAM 1965-1970, by Major General Spurgeon Neel, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, WASHINGTON, D.C., 1991, CHAPTER III: Care of the Wounded, Nature of Wounds, Burns, page 56.


Confessions of a vampire on the burn ward

Though I ended up working mainly in the microbiology (bacteriology and parasitology) section of the lab, I did my share of rounds drawing blood, on all wards, including the burn ward. When I was at the 106th in 1966, the burn ward -- as I recall -- was on the 2nd floor of Building C, just a few steps across the way from the lab, which occupied the small building between B and C after provisionally setting up in Building B.

Every ward presented different challenges in terms of the types of patients. All patients were the same, though, when it came to the first rule of drawing blood -- to make the patient feel at ease, especially if we were meeting for the first time. Second and subsequent draws were easier if the first draw left the patient feeling that I could be trusted to do relatively painless work.

What's different about burn patients is, of course, the burns -- "thermal injuries" to body tissue caused by heat or chemicals.

I'm not talking about the minor burns you get touching a hot kettle, spilling boiling water, or getting a sleeve too close to a flame. I'm talking about burns caused by explosives, ignited fuels and chemicals, the kind you get from incendiary weapons, white phosphorus munitions, napalm, gasoline, jet fuel -- major burns that cover substantial parts of your body, all the worse if they also involve your head and face.

Before I could begin to try to make a patient feel at ease with a stranger wielding a needle, though, I had to make myself feel at ease with the patient. After the 106th began operating, I quickly enough got used to the commonality of the mangled bodies that occupied many of its beds. The sights were very different from those I'd seen in the surgery and recovery wards of the hospitals where I'd worked in the United States. While located in the peaceful suburbs of a country that was several thousand miles from Vietnam, the 106th was nonetheless a battlefield hospital.

The most difficult challenge for me, at Kishine, was to tame my natural curiosity about not only a patient's medical condition, but the conditions that caused the injuries or wounds -- in this case the burns. If the patient volunteered to tell his story, fine. If not, then I would hesitate to ask unless I saw signs that the patient might actually like to talk about what happened. Some patients did, and some didn't, voluntarily related what had happened to them.

At times a ward nurse or corpsman would intercept me and alert me as to which patients were having emotional difficulties on top of their physical injuries. These included patients who had been involved in severe combat and were unable to get any information about other men in their unit -- how their wounded buddis were doing, who had been killed. These also included patients who, in addition to their extreme pain and discomfort, were dwelling on certain or probable prospects of lifelong disfigurement.

I hated saying things like "How are we doing today?" to patients who were obviously miserable. I was more apt to say something like "You don't look like you're having fun" -- in a way that would be taken as a sincere acknowledgement of the patient's difficulties.

I was generally good at what I did, but some patients were tired of being pin cushions. Some had experienced failed attempts by others -- a lab tech, corpsman, nurse, or doctor -- who were having a bad day or were careless or unskilled. But no matter how much confidence I had in my own abilities and tried not to show occasional doubts, there were times when I couldn't guarantee that it wouldn't hurt -- or that I wouldn't bungle an attempt to hit a vein.

There's a saying in Japanese -- "Even monkeys fall from trees" (Saru mo ki kara ochiru 猿も木から落ちる) -- and yours truly considers himself just another monkey. Bananas happen to be -- I'm not kidding -- the Wetherall "family fruit". The point is, though, I always went into a vein with an awareness of a small but real probability of failure.

I was supposed to remain calm and give the patient the impression I knew what I was doing. But sometimes I'd joke about it. "Don't worry. I'm as nervous as you are." And take it from there. It could go in all manner of directions.

Some patients called phlebotomists vampires.

"I've got to draw some more blood."

"Is it that good?"

"Some post-op tests and another blood culture. I hear your surgery went well."

"They gave me some blood. And now you want to take it back."

"From the blood bank, right?


"You can keep the blood, but you gotta pay interest."

Most vampire jokes are of the kind you can tell your mother and not get your mouth washed out with soap. Two blood cells loved in vein. A red cell asks another for a date, and the other says, "Sorry, you're not my type." A psychiatrist tells a B- blood cell suffering from depression to be more positive. Artistic vampires are good at drawing blood. Vampires go fishing in the blood stream.

Sometimes I did have to fish for a vein, or fish around inside one. The arms of some patients were so badly injured that I couldn't draw blood from a conventional vein. Or the conventional veins were intact but had collapsed from excessive punctures. An alternate site might be indicated on the patient's chart. Or a nurse might bring such a site to my attention.

If I didn't immediately spot a suitable vein, I'd look for one. I might ask, "Where have they been drawing your blood?" Or I might look at a bunch of puncture marks and joke, "Do you have any good veins left?" -- while meeting the patient's eyes, which invariably would be watching me, most likely with considerable anxiety.

When I found a possible site, I'd prepare the needle and tubes, while talking to the patient about anything other than something I thought might upset him. I resorted to light humor if possible. But some patients were in no mood for levity. Or they were burned or otherwise injured in such ways that made smiling or laughing painful or even impossible.

Drawing from veins that could not clearly be seen or palpitated increased the likelihood of failure. Obesity increased the likelihood of having to go for a vein I suspected (or hoped) was there but couldn't actual feel. Unlike some of the patients I had drawn at stateside Army hospitals, which also treat dependants, patients from Vietnam were rarely fat.

Even with lean patients, however, some sticks are harder than others. I sometimes sought advice, and was always prepared to admit defeat, but I never encountered a patient whose peripheral blood I couldn't somehow draw.

At times I had to draw from a vein on the back of a hand, or leg, ankle, or foot. Such draws can be painful even for the person wielding the needle, who vicariously experiences being in the patient's skin.

If no one is able to draw blood using conventional methods of venipuncture, then a doctor has to perform a venous cutdown. I have never witnessed one.

As much as I sometimes wanted to, there wasn't a lot of time to linger and talk with patients. When especially busy, I had no choice but to minimize conversation. And even when there was time to talk, there were times when I concluded that the kindest I could be to a patient was to go about my work in silence.





9 January 1969








Medical Corps
Dental Corps
Medical Service Corps
Army Medical Service Corps
Army Nursing Corps
Chaplain Corps
Warrant Officer

Enlisted Men
  RN (Part Time)
Registered Nurse
Japanese National
Department of the Army Civilian



Map Click image to enlarge
Map of 106th General Hospital installations
Page 10 of 1969 report as scanned

The numbers of the buildings on the above map are explained in key on the following page. The numbers are difficult to read but some can be better made out by enlarging the image. The scan is 600dpi -- the highest definition that was meaningful. The handwritten information is as marked on the received map.










Registrar and BEQ
Mail Room, APO, Linnen Exchange,
  and Unit Supply
"A" Wards
"B" Wards
"C" Wards
"D" Wards
Enlisted Billets
Baggage Room
Officer's Club [sic = Officers Club]
Dental Clinic
Mess Hall
Operating Room and Recovery Room
Central Material Supply
Theater and Gymnasium
Post Exchange, Snack Bar, Barber,
  Tailor and Bowling Alley
Headquarters, Personnel, Finance
Hospital Clinic, Pharmacy,
  Medical Library, EENT Clinic,
  and Education Center
Telephone Exchange
Local National Dispensary
  and Snack Bar
Swimming Pool
Power Plant
Fire Station and Security Guard
NCO Club
Supply and Service
Ammunition Bunker
Sewage Plant
Bachelor Enlisted Men's Quarters
Army Post Office
Bachelor Officer [Officers] Quarters
Eye(s), Ear(s), Nose, and Throat
Non-Commissioned Officers
Enlisted Men
Operating Room(s)
Post Exchange



Photo Photo 106th General Hospital
Click on images to enlarge
Aerial views of Kishine Barracks from southeast
Scans from copies of pages 12 and 13 of 1969 report as received.
Dates and photographers unknown. Probably around 1968.
Compare with similar photgraph to right.
Click on image to enlarge
Aerial view of Kishine Barracks from southeast
Date and photographer unknown. Probably around 1967.
The water tower has been painted white and red.
See Tenney (1967) for details.

The black-and-white photographs on the left came at the end of the received 1969 report on the 106th General Hospital. The darker second photo to the right appears to be a crop from the first photo. The baseball field is in the lower right corner. The large building to its left is the theater and gymnasium. The entrance gate is just to their left, and just to its right is the Officers Club. The white building top and center is the chapel.

The color photograph to the right was taken from almost the same aspect as the black-and-white photograph but a bit further to the west (left), which made the tower and chimney appear more to the east (right) of the view. See Tenney (1967) below for story that this picture was attached to by a soldier who was evacuated to the hosptial from Vietnam.


The 106th General Hospital in the Pacific Stars and Stripes

The Pacific Stars and Stripes is the most logical source of reports about Kishine Barracks the 106th General Hospital during its deployment there. I have integrated reports about Kishine Barracks -- from its start in 1957 to the arrival of the 106th General Hospital in 1965, and from the departure of the 106th in 1970 to the reversion of Kishine Barracks to Japan in 1972 -- in the "History of Kishine Barracks" section (below). Here I have organized selected clippings of reports about the 106th under several broad categories that taken together seem to cover all the "bases" as it were.


Viet evacuees Pacific Stars and Stripes
9 February 1966, page 7

Viet evacuees

The arrival of the 106th General Hospital at Kishine Barracks does not seem to have been a particularly newsworthy event. I have no idea whether this was the result of policy not to publicize the arrivals of any of the newly deployed hospitals in the area -- or a lack of full awareness until later of the developing medical capacity of the region -- or a reflection of both knowing and being free to report about the hospitals, but waiting until there was something else to report other than just their arrival.

The Pacific Stars and Stripes featured 3 photo-illustrated stories about the 106th General Hospital in late January and early February 1966, a month after it had arrived and begun operating. All the first 3 articles were human interest stories having nothing to do with the hospital's mission but more to do with the peculiarities of certain of its staff -- Japan-born Captain Augustine Momiyama (27 January) being able to see his father for the first time in a number of years, identical twin nurses Captains Ella and Dorothy Williams (31 January), and the reunion of two Japanese nurses who had trained together but hadn't seen each other for 30 years Fuku Ebizuka and Yasuko Otake (7 February).

Only then, on 9 February 1966, did the Pacific Stars and Stripes get around to "confirming reports" that some soldiers wounded in Vietnam were had been evacuated to Japan, and that there had been a virtual invasion of general hospitals to accommodate Vietnam War causalities. The source of confirmation was the "director of information" of U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ), as though everything had been state secret.

Everyone who was been involved in the evacuation of war casualties to Japan, and their transportation and treatment within Japan, had to have known at least a part of the larger picture. And perhaps rumors spread to the Pacific Stars and Stripes but the paper was not in the position to report anything that was no official.

"not a barometer of casualties in Vietnam"

We see here the utter disingenuousness of officialese.

It is one thing for the military to treat the deployment of so many large-capacity field hospitals in the same manner that it treats other troop movements, especially in wartime -- quietly if not with secrecy. It is quite another thing, though, to insult the public's intelligence with a denial of the only reason for such a massive deployment -- the military fully expects there to be a lot more casualties.

But don't expect the information officer to volunteer or otherwise admit the truth. Such verbal slight of hand would characterize a lot of official reports on the development of the Vietnam War -- glossing over harsh realities, if not outright lying.



This section shows some basic information about other major military hospitals and medical facilities that in one way or another were related to, or supported, the 106th General Hospital during the Vietnam War, and are therefore part of its story.

Sagami-Ono Hospital [U.S. Army Medical Center] -- Sagamihara city in Kanagawa
7th Field Hospital, Johnson Air Base --Sayama and Iruma cities in Saitama
  Becomes U.S. Army Hospital at Camp Oji -- Kita ward, Tokyo
249th General Hospital, North Camp Drake -- Asaka city in Saitama
406th Medical Laboratory, Camp Zama -- Zama and Sagamihara cities in Kanagawa
587th Medical Detachment (Hel Amb), Camp Zama -- Zama and Sagamihara cities in Kanagawa
Hospitals in Vietnam -- Surgical, field, evac, and other hospitals
Evacuation -- Hospitalization and evacuation in Vietnam and Japan

Hospital expansion program begins

The following article -- published a year after the first confirmation of the arrival Viet evacuees (9 Februrary 1966) -- includes following overview of the history of the on-going development of U.S. military medical facilities in the Tokyo-Yokohama area during the Vietnam War.

Hospitals Pacific Stars and Stripes
14 March 1967, page 7

Viet Casualties Help Dedicate Hospital Chapel

NORTH CAMP DRAKE, Japan (S&S) -- The new Camp Drake hospital chapel was dedicated Sunday with commanders of the 249th General Hospital, their families and several Vietnam casualty patients present.

Maj. Cen. Lloyd E. Fellenz, commanding general of U.S. Army Japan, gave a short talk.

Three men sat at the back of the I8O-seat chapel in wheelchairs while two others were brought in on stretchers to attend services.

[ Omission ]

Fellenz' talk outlined a huge expansion project for military hospital facilities in Japan now nearing completion. "When I got here in July of 1965," he said, "we had one small dispensary at Sagami, capable of taking care of about 80 patients."

Fellenz said a huge influx of medical evacuees overloaded the Japan medical facility at one point to 650 patients, "and our people held on with guts and a strong devotion to duty".

Then, he said, the expansion program began. First to arrive was the 7th Field Hospital, operating at Johnson AS, near Tokyo.

The 249th General Hospital moved into Camp Drake late in 1965, and began a $2.8 million buildup, of which the new chapel is a part.

The 106th General Hospital went to Kishine Barracks later in 1966, and Fellenz said a new hospital is being readied at Camp Oji.

Total Japan capacity will be around 3,800 beds, he said, but this is a cutback from the original figure of 10,000 planned by the Army. About 1,000 beds will be installed in converted warehouses, extra wings of a sprawling communications center and in new buildings when the Drake buildup is completed, Fellenz indicated.

He said that 13,355 Vietnam casualties have been treated in Japan since January, 1966.

"It isn't often that a commander can start a project this large and see it brought to a successful completion within the span of his own command," Fellenz said "I'll always remember the determination and drive which is making the hospital buildup program a success."

"later in 1966"

The quality of the reporting could have been better. The Pacific Stars and Stripes often misreported the date from which the 106th General Hospital arrived and began operating at Kishine Barracks. And the language is vague. Does "later in 1966" mean "not in 1965" or "later rather than earlier in 1966"?

"a new hospital"

The phrase "a new hospital" could give the impression that an additional hospital was then being built. But the facilities at Camp Oji were being readied for the 7th Field Hospital, which had been stationed at Johnson Air Station only temporarily.


Doctors Click on image for readable pdf file
Pacific Stars and Stripes
12 November 1967, pages A12-A13

As of 9 January 1969 -- about 14 months after the above article appeared and a year after the Tet Offensive, when U.S. forces in Vietnam numbers of casulaties -- there were 43 medical doctors at the 106th General Hospital (see Personnel section of 1969 report, above).

Dr. Bohn D. Allen

One of most notable physician at the 106th, in terms of the publicity generated by its position as the regional Burn Center and his role as its resident burn specialist -- was Dr. Bohn D. Allen, who is pictured in the upper right corner of the article when he was a Major. By the time he began authoring and co-authoring medical reports related to burns and other injuries and wounds at the 106th, he had become a Lieutenant Colonel. See examples of some of his reports under Medical reports below.

After completing his tour of duty, Dr. Allen returned to Texas, where he had received his medical education and been licensed in 1961, and became a staff surgeon at the Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. On 1 June 2012, The University of Texas Medical Branch, School of Medicine Alumni Association, honored him, among a few other graduates, with an Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus (ASDA) Award, as follows, according to a November 2012 ASDA news feature posted by UTMB's School of Medicine Alumni Association.


Bohn D. Allen Dr. Bohn D. Allen, nlt 2012

Bohn D. Allen, MD, FACS -- Class of 1961

Dr. Allen attended the University of Texas in Austin and graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1961. He served an internship at Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver, Colorado, a residency in general and vascular surgery at Madigan General Hospital in Tacoma, Washington and a fellowship in burns at the Institute of Surgical Research Burn Unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Dr. Allen is past president of the Arlington Medical Society, Tarrant County Medical Society and Fort Worth Surgical Society. He is past president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA), having served various positions on TMA boards, councils and committees. He was a delegate to the American Medical Association from Texas for sixteen years, and he is a past president of the Texas Surgical Society.

Dr. Allen is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Arlington Memorial Hospital and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Texas Health Resources hospital system. Dr. Allen was in private practice in Arlington, Texas for thirty-two years. He now serves as the physician director of the Outpatient Surgery Clinic at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, teaching surgical residents and medical students.



Nurses Pacific Stars and Stripes
31 January 1966, page 17
Nurses Pacific Stars and Stripes
22 September 1966, page 17
Nurses Pacific Stars and Stripes
7 February 1966, page 7

Beauty vs. sentiment

I don't know who picked up the phone first -- a Stars and Stripes reporter looking for a story, or a public relations official at the 106th General Hospital Headquarters who had some stories and was looking for a publicist.

Nothing trumps two pairs of beautiful nurses . . .

Captains Ella and Dorothy Williams (top left) were billed as identical twins, and the photographs appear to bear that out.

1st Lieutenants Marie and Precilla Alire (top right) were said to be just look-alike sisters, but one could be forgiven for thinking that they were twins. Both sisters ran for queen (Albuquerque Journal, 23 April 1965, page 40) but Marie took the crown (right).

The Alire sisters, from Dulce, New Mexico, enrolled in Regina School of Nursing at St. Joseph Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in September 1962 (The Albuquerque Tribune, 11 September 1962, page B-3). They enlisted in the Army Student Nurse Corps during their 3rd year and were commissioned 2nd Lieutenants when they graduated (Alamogordo Daily News, 13 October 1964, page 8).

. . . except a 30-year reunion of a pair of nurses.

The back stories to the story of the reunion of Fuku Ebizuka and Yasuko Otake would seem to be the relationships between the two Japanese nurses and the ANC nurses at Kishine. Maybe the original story was longer and got cut in the editing. A picture of the four nurses would also have been nice.

Nurses The Albuquerque Tribune
28 April 1965, page A9


Helen McCormick Helen McCormick U.S. Army Register, Volume 1: United States Army Active and Retired List
1961 (top), 1966 (bottom), United States Government Printing Office
(Captured from
Colonel Helen Louise McCormick, ANC

The 106th General Hospital report published in early 1969 lists Lt. Col. Helen L. McCormick, ANC, as the Chief of Nursing Services. She appeared in a number of newspaper article reporting concerning her both while and after she was at Kishine Barracks.

U.S. Army registers show that she was born on 13 June 1920 and enlisted in the Army in 25 May 1943. She was promoted to Lt. Col. on 8 October 1965, a couple of year before she came to Kishine.

During the height of some rather disruptive radical student protests against U.S. military hospitals in Japan (see Community protests below), which were widely reported in the United States. A number of papers also carried the following Associated Press (AP) article datelined Yokohama, about a Japanese who anonymously sent flowers to the "Kishine Hospital".

The headlines in the text and image versions are different as they are from different newspapers, and papers are generally responsible for writing the headlines of wire-service reports. Other headlines include "Japanese Sends Flowers To GI's" --

Helen McCormick Spokane Daily Chronicle
6 August 1968, page 7

Tuesday, August 6, 1968
Abilene Reporter-News
Abilene, Texas
Page 5-C

Flowers Sent

YOKOHAMA (AP) -- Japanese leftists have demonstrated against U.S. hospitals in Japan that get casualties from the Vietnam war, but one anonymous Japanese has been sending flowers every week to thank U.S. military men for fighting for freedom.

The flowers come to the U.S. Army's Kishine Hospital in Yokohama, which treats patients from the war. "The florist who delivers them refuses to identify the Japanese, but the gifts are more than welcome." said Lt. Col. Helen McCormick of Chicago, the hospital's chief nurse.

The flowers and potted plants have been coming since June 1967, usually on Friday, and are taken each week to different wards. A greeting, signed "A Japanese," is usually attached.

One recent card read: "These flowers I send each week are my comforting words to those who have been fighting for freedom. . . It is because your army struggles against communism that I am able to send flowers. It is the least I can do. . . I wish the brave a speedy recovery."

By June 1972, two years after she had left Japan, McCormick had been promoted to Colonel at Ft. Sill, where she had been posted before being sent to the 106th General Hospital in 1968. A local Lawton paper reported the promotion ceremony, with a biographical overview of her career, as follows.

Wednesday, June 14, 1972
The Lawton Constitution
Lawton, Oklahoma
Page 13

Reynolds Nurse Gets Eagles

[Fort] Sill's chief of Nursing Service received what she termed her "nicest and most long lasting birthday anniversary present ever hosted by the staff at Reynolds Army Hospital.

THE SURPRISE was a promotion for Col. Helen L. McConnick. Two shiny eagles, symbols of her new rank of colonel, were pinned to her nurse's uniform by Maj. Gen. Roderick Wetherill, post commander, who was assisted by her mother, Mrs. Helen McCormick of Lawton.

Afterwards the general gave a congratulatory kiss to the only woman at the field artillery post to hold the rank of colonel.

"I have known for some time that I would be promoted," she beamed, "but I had no idea when, so this was a very happy "birthday surprise."

Col. McCormick, who has headed the Nursing Service at Reynolds Hospital the last two and one-half years, first entered the Army Nurse Corps in 1943 after graduation from the South Shore Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago, Il.

"There was all out war then," she said, "and serving in the Army was really just the thing to do. As a nurse I didn't see that I had any other choice but to help my country.

"I suppose that may sound corny now," she continued, "but there was a totally different atmosphere at that time."

FOLLOWING the war, Col. McCormick left active service to work with the Veterans Administration but remained with the Army Reserve. Then in 1951 as a result of the Korean Conflict, she was recalled to active duty and that time decided to remain.

"I don't know that I have advanced more rapidly in the Army than I could have in a civilian career," she commented, "but I have enjoyed what I have done, and I have very good assignments!

"Actually. I can't think of any further goals for myself in the Army except to keep trying to stay up with the many changes in nursing that are coming about and to improve the service we give.

"I'm not aiming to become a general," she smiled. "I never even thought I'd be made a colonel."

DURING her 24 years of active service, Col. McCormick has had four overseas tours, two each in Europe and Japan. Prior to coming to Fort Sill she served as the chief of Nursing services from 1968 to 1970 at the 106th General Hospital in Japan.

"That was one of my most different assignments," she said, "because we had so many casualties from Vietnam to treat. Thank goodness that number has been cut back now."

Among the awards she has received during her career are the Meritorious Service Medal, the European Asian Middle East Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.


Other staff

Dental techs and aides
Other staff

Pacific Stars and Stripes
30 September 1966, page 7

Dental assistants
I cannot recall whether the 106th's original party had a dentist, but apparently it did not have a capacity for a lot of dental work until the fall of 1966 (top right), which was when I left. Ichiko Takimoto, the dental aide trainee to the left (bottom right), would later be given away in marriage by Captain Edward Henjyoji (below), a Burn Unit surgeon, to Lieutenant William Mabee, a Burn Unit nurse (below).

U.S. military personnel in Japan have committed their share of crimes, including murders, but I have not heard of any such cases involving 106th General Hospital personnel. The above case (right) intrigued me because it involved an attempted suicide. Kishine Barracks before the arrival of the 106th, however, quartered a soldier who killed a woman just a few months after the facility opened in 1957. See Crime (below) for details.

Other staff

Pacific Stars and Stripes
4 August 1967, page 7


Social workers
The 106th General Hospital had all manner of personnel in addition to its doctors and nurses. The original party included specialists like Captain Augustine Momiyama (below), a sociologist, who was chief of the Psychological Social Work section. I was a friend of Patrick Metoyer, one of his assistants (below).

Other staff

Captain Augustine T. Momiyama, Social Work Officer, 106th General Hospital
Pacific Stars and Stripes, Thursday, 27 January 1966, page 7

Augustine Tadahiko Momiyama

The first major Pacific Stars and Stripes story about the 106th General Hospital at Kishine Barracks featured an officer who was arguably the hospital's most unusual staff member -- Captain Augustine T. Momiyama. He was born, raised, and educated in Japan through high school, then went to the United States in 1954 for college, graduated and married in 1958, completed graduate school and naturalized in 1960, joined the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps in 1962, and returned to Japan for the first time in 11 years with the 106th General Hospital in 1965.

Momiyama mastered English as a high school student at St. Joseph College in Yokohama, and after graduating in 1953, he continued to polish his English at the U.S. Army R&R Center in Yokohama. Kishine Barracks, built a couple of years after Momiyama left Japan, become the main R&R facility in the Tokyo-Yokohama area until the arrival of the 106th General Hospital.

I knew of and saw Captain Momiyama at Kishine Barracks but do not recall having a conversation with him. He was the chief of the Psychological Social Work section, and Patrick Metoyer, a mess hall friend with whom I also went hiking, was a specialist in Momiyama's unit.

Augustine "Auggie" Momiyama was born Tadahiko Momiyama on 3 January 1933 in Fujisawa in Kanagawa prefecture (or in Urawa in Saitama prefecture) in Japan. He died on 20 December 2015 in Lorton, Virginia, where he had been residing in retirement.

1972 military records state that his service in the Regular Army began on 26 September 1962. He was promoted to the temporary rank of major on 13 May 1968, and his former rank of captain became permanent on 26 September 1969. (U.S. Army Register, 1972, Volume 1)

The Fall 2001 issue of Horizons, the Northern Michigan University alumni journal, remarks that Augustine Momiyama, Class of 1958, BS, Class of 60, MA, of Tokyo, Japan, "is a senior linguist at Defense Attache, United States Embassy in Tokyo. He served as an Army social worker for 23 years, did a combat tour in Vietnam, and retired in 1985 as a lieutenant colonel" and gives his email address as "" (page 22).

Civilian, Augustine Momiyama served as the Director of Social Services at St. Francis Medical Center in Honolulu from 1986 to 1988, and from 1988 began working for the Department of Defense as a Senior Social Worker and Senior Language Specialist. From 1991 to 1994 he served as the Chief Social Worker of Medically Related Services at the U.S. Navy Hospital in Yokosuka. And from 1994 to his retirement in 2004, he served in a variety of posts, including a stint at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, as a translator and interpretor.

Momiyama retired in Lorton, Virginia, where he lived with his 2nd wife until his death in 2015. He was the father of 3 children by his 1st wife.


Momiyama through classmate's eyes

Victor S. Lavrov, born in 1935 in Karafuto -- then part of Japan, now the southern part of Sakhalin in Russia -- was raised and educated mostly in Yokohama, including high school at St. Joseph College, where he was one of Momiyama's classmates. In his 2015 memoirs, Lavrov caricaturized all 23 graduates of the class of 1953 in a first person voice on the day of graduation, including the following back-to-back takes of himself and Momiyama (pages 159-160).

Lavrov 2015 "Momi's true talents"

Victor S. Lavrov
Son of the Rising Sun: Memoirs of a Russian Lad Born in Japan
Mustang (Oklahoma): Tate Publishing, 2015
211 pages plus 48 pages of photographs, paperback

Victor Lavrov, Russian

Victor Lavrov, our beloved Russian boy who was born into this world in Karafuto, Japan, 1935, has been one of the outstanding characters of our class for his marvelous abilities in his studies as well as in his hobbies, who is a fanatical lover of Western music, is said to have been born singing "Tennessee Saturday Night" and playing a guitar. He loves music so much that he walks as if he is beating rhythms and talks as if he is singing bars. Although he spends much of his time absorbing and originating Western music, he doesn't neglect his studies. Victor is a lad who has been blessed with an exceptional linguistic talent. He can speak four languages: English as if [he] were an H'Englishman, French as good as a Parisien, he rolls Japanese as clearly as a Kamishibai-ya, and he sputter Russian boastfully as if he were a graduate of Moscow University. Victor wants to be a translator. We hope that he will continue to expand his grasp of languages.

Augustine T. Momiyama, Japanese

The New Year in Tokyo, some nineteen years ago, was certainly very omedetai. Since January 3, 1933, Augustine has developed into a "Hercules" of will power and determination. Peaceful and modest by nature, Momi's true talents and abilities are sometimes apt to go unnoticed, as do sometimes the bulging muscles of his physique. True to his pet phrase "Go for broke," Momi is always on the go. An outstanding sportsman back at Urawa High, present Momi has proven himself to be a true champion in athletics and worthy of being captain of the soccer squad. His same spirit has also characterized his scholastic achievements. Momi plans to go to the States and attend college. Augustine has chosen an engineering career in the forest service to preserve nature's wonders. He would be happy if he could squeeze into this plan several years of service in the US marine corps -- master sergeant, no less.


Momiyama's obituary

Momiyama uniform Momiyama civies
St. Joseph College Click on image to enlarge
Augustine Momiyama
standing 6th from left
St. Joseph College, Class of 1951
[Class of 1953 according to Lavrov]
Copped from 1950 Sodality yearbook
Momiyama Sociology Augustine T. Momiyama
Tokyo, Japan, Sociology (Junior)
Northern Michigan College of Education
Copped from 1955 Peninsulan yearbook

Augustine Tadahiko Momiyama

January 3, 1933 - December 20, 2015
Resided in Lorton, VA


Augustine Momiyama left his native Japan to attend Northern Michigan College in Marquette, MI, where he received his Bachelor's degree in Sociology in June 1958. He then attended Wayne State University, Graduate School of Social Work, where he received a Master of Social Work degree in June 1960.

Upon completion of his college undergraduate degree, in September 1962, he volunteered for a social work career in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, accepting the officer commission in the grade of First Lieutenant, serving for 23 years as a Regular Army Officer. He retired from the U.S. Army on September 30, 1985 in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel. LTC Momiyama's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal in Vietnam, three Campaign Stars, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Vietnam Civic Action Award, two Meritorious Unit Citations, Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and Army Achievement Medal.

After retiring from the Army, Augustine continued with his direct patient-care social work career. From March 1986 to November 1988, he served as the Director of Social Services at St. Francis Medical Center in Honolulu, HI. He served the US Department of Defense from October 1988 to July 2004 as the Senior Social Worker/Senior Language Specialist.

From October 1991 to April 1994, he was the Chief Social Worker of Medically Related Services, U.S. Navy Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan.

In May 1994, Augustine then entered the cross-cultural language services career field where his social work, knowledge, and experiences were indispensable tools. Augustine accepted a position as the Senior Language Specialist at Logistics Directorate J4, functioning as the U.S. Forces-Japanese Government bilateral communication specialist at Headquarters, U.S. Forces, Japan (USFJ) in Yokota Air Base, Japan.

From November 2000 to April 2002, Augustine was selected as the Language Specialist at the Defense Attaches Office (DAO) under the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, where he heightened his linguistics skill in performing translations and interpretation of intelligence data of national interest during the disquiet period surrounding the attacks of September 11, 2001, and other events of importance impacting on bilateral alliance between the U.S. and Japan.

Due to the limited variety of language service tasks at the DAO, he then accepted the offer to return to the Headquarters, J4 Logistics, U.S. Force [sic = U.S.Forces] Japan in April 2002, where he remained until his retirement in July 2004.

Augustine's total understanding of both his native Japanese language, history, customs, traditions, and political sensitivities, and his more than 30 years of total immersion in U.S. culture and the U.S. military gave him an unparalleled and unique understanding of both countries, and a perspective that enabled him to assist both governments in having meaningful, productive dialog, and resolving untold numbers of day to day operational as well as higher level challenges to the benefit of all concerned.

Committed, personable, and undaunted by the magnitude of any action or task he was asked to undertake or support, Augustine Momiyama was a devoted servant of both Japan and the United States. His ability to gain the respect and cooperation of senior leaders of both countries, both military and civilian, and to professionally interact with representatives of both governments in official and social settings was instrumental in enhancing the spirit of cooperation and camaraderie of all parties and ultimately leading to the myriad successes enjoyed by the U.S., the GOJ, USFJ, JSO, the J4 and multiple other U.S. and Japanese government and defense organizations during his tenure at USFJ.

On Sunday, December 20, 2015, at the age of 82, Augustine passed away at his home in Lorton, VA. He was the beloved husband of Maria C. Momiyama; father of Matthew and Timothy Momiyama and Sherylann H. Bell; brother of Thomas Momiyama, Ikuko Muramatsu, and Fujiyo Yoshinaga; Grandfather of Angela, Joshua, Ashley and Timothy Momiyama, Jr. and Leilani Zaborac and Great-grandfather of Shai Momiyama. Relatives and friends may call at Jefferson Funeral Chapel, 5755 Castlewellan Drive, Alexandria, VA on Tuesday, January 5, 2015 from 3 to 7 pm. A mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Raymond of Penafort Catholic Church, 8750 Pohick Rd., Springfield, VA on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 11 am. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Source: Jefferson Funeral Chapter


Find a Grave memorial

A Find a Grave memorial states that LTC Augustine Tadahiko Momiyama was born on 3 January 1933, died on 20 December 2015 at age 82, and was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on 20 April 2016 (Plot Section 55, Grave 1835). The memorial states that his tombstone bears the inscription "Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Air Force". In principle, Find a Grave memorials include a photograph of the deceased's grave marker or columbarium plaque. But Momiyama's memorial has no photograph, hence I am unable to confirm the reported inscription. Is the inscription, or the report of the inscription, wrong? All accounts of his life say he served 23 years in the U.S. Army commencing in 1962 and ending in 1985.

Momiyama's family life

For a chronology of Augustine T. Momiyama's life, including details about his marriages and children, see Momiyama Tadahiko on the "Couples" page in the "People" section of the Konketsuji website.

Momiyama's brother

Augustine Tadahiko Momiyama's older brother, Thomas Sadahiko Momiyama (b1931), came to America a year before Augustine and became one of America's leading naval aeronautical engineers. Many stories have been written about him, including Thomas S. Momiyama, U.S. SES (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum), and Turning a boyhood dream to fly into a naval aviation career (Donna Cipolloni, 30 September 2016). I have integrated some details about Thomas's Sadahiko's life in the chronology of life of Momiyama Tadahiko on the "Couples" page in the "People" section of the Konketsuji website.


Paul Wachtel The Times
23 January 1975, pages 15

"I was there"

At the 106th General Hospital, ophthalmology was under the Department of Surgery, and for a while at least its chief was Paul Wachtel.

Wachtel's wife -- Mrs. Paul Wachtel (what else?) -- got more publicity than he did, if the brief to the right, which appeared on the society page of the Thursday, 23 January 1975 edition of The Times (page 15), is any indication. This is not The New York Times, or the Los Angeles Times, much less The Times in London, however. Rather -- as it bills itself -- it is merely the "Only Newspaper With Complete Scotch Plains - Fanwood [New Jersey] News".

Civilian dependents who accompany U.S. military personnel to foreign countries -- usually wives and children -- inevitably live somewhat extraordinary lives, even if they spend most of their time in dependant housing facilities with post or base exchanges and American schools. Children will be exposed to local national employees including possibly domestic servants. Wives are likely to become involved in cultural activities.

When returning to the United States, dependants will take their familiarity with the foreign country with them. The living rooms of families that have been in Japan are likely to be mini museums of Japanese folk crafts and art works, and their gardens will probably have a stone lantern (which are fairly common in Japanese gardens) or a Buddha or two (which are rarely seen in Japanese gardens or homes).

Dependent children will tap their experiences and artifacts for show-and-tell themes. Adults will be regarded as Japan experts, and some -- like Mrs. Wachtel -- will find themselves invited to share if not market their knowledge and skills at local social and cultural events.



Patients Click on image for readable pdf file
Pacific Stars and Stripes
8 November 1967, page 9
Patients Pacific Stars and Stripes
25 December 1967, page 23

Therapeutic effect of art and Chrismas cake
All manner of civilians traipsed through the 106th General Hospital to attempt to make its patients feel better about their condition. Mrs. Carroll Aument (left) visited the 106th once a week to sketch portraits of patients. Mrs. U. Alexis Johnson (right), the wife of America's ambassador to japan, made the rounds of area hospitals to help some of their patients celebrate Christmas.


Medals and awards

Medals and awards Pacific Stars and Stripes
31 August 1966, page 17
Medals and awards Pacific Stars and Stripes
7 February 1967, page 17
Medals and awards Pacific Stars and Stripes
22 August 1967, page 7

Medals and awards for extraordinary service
Many patients at the 106th General Hospital, such as William Sells (left), received combat medals while at Kishine Barracks. But some hospital personnel were also cited for their work, including Patrick Metoyer (center) and William Schurter (right), who were named the Soldier of the Quarter in the U.S. Army Japan command in 1967.

Patrick Metoyer Tanzawa Click image to enlarge
Patrick Metoyer with orphans at Tanzawa
Photograph by William Wetherall, circa April 1966

Patrick Metoyer: From Soldier of the Quarter (1967) to Veteran of the Day (2014)

Patrick Gerald Metoyer (b1943) was a member of the original complement of 106th General Hospital personnel deployed to Kishine Barracks from Ft. Bliss in December 1965. He was a social work specialist and I was a lab tech, so we worked in different sections, but we often engaged in serious conversations at the mess hall.

I didn't stay in touch with Patrick and would not reconnect with him until 2016. But I thought of him whenever my days at Kishine crossed my mind -- and whenever, in my files, I encountered the copy of an article on the Shin-Tokaido Bullet Train which he had loaned me, shortly before I left Kishine, which I had promised to return but didn't.

Patrick Metoyer told me in email that the photograph of him receiving the Soldier of the Quarter award was probably taken by Jay Jaffe (see below), another member of the original party.

Patrick organized some hiking trips to Tanzawa, a mountain range in the northwest of Kanagawa prefecture on its borders with Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, with orphans from a Catholic home in Yokohama. The hikes were conceived as a volunteer activity which gave 106th personnel an opportunity to get out and mix with the Japanese community. I went on a couple of these hikes, which were joined by a few enlisted men and officers from the 106th, with children from the orphange and one or two of the fathers (one was Father Valentine). We all got to stretch our legs, and the orphans got to practice their English if they weren't too shy.

Drafted in 1965, Patrick left the army after completely his tour of duty with the 106th in 1967. With a background in education, he became a teacher, and in 1985 he moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, where he began to pursue a growing interest in art. A serious bout of illness that stretched over several years led him to understand the therapeutic value of artistic activities, and be began to share his time and energy working with veterans.

In 1990, Patrick served as the co-chair of NAMI Veterans Network, which was linked with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). The network reached out to veterans and families of veterans in need of psychiatric and other assistance.

Since 1998, Patrick has been participating in both the performance and visual arts divisions of National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (NVCAF) competitions, and over the years he has won a number of awards in this and other competitions. NVCAF works closely with medical facilities that use creative arts to facilitate the rehabilitation of veterans who continue to deal with physical and emotional difficulties.

By 2008, Patrick had won a prize for a poem he created out of the prose of another veteran who had passed through the 106th General Hospital at Kishine, as told in the following story by Grand Junction Free Press writer Darralee Coba, and published in the Post Independent / Citizen Telegram, a merger of the Post Independent in Glenwood Springs and "The Citizen Telegram in Rifle, Colorado.

Patrick Metoyer U.S. Army veteran Patrick Metoyer
Copped from Post Independent / Citizen Telegram
Phillis_Wheatley The Trial of Phillis Wheatley (2014)
Ronald B. Wheatley is also the author of A Song of Africa, an historical novel inspired by his experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria, West Africa. He served with the US Army's 1st Signal Brigade in Vietnam in 1967-1968, and spent a few weeks at the 106th General Hospital recovering from injuries. He later became an attorney and author.

Grand Junction veteran honored for his art

By Darralee Coba
Free Press Staff Writer, Grand Junction, Colorado

November 10, 2008

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- U.S. Army veteran Patrick Metoyer won a gold medal in the drama category of Solo Patriotic Prose at the local Veterans Art Competition at the Grand Junction VA Medical Center.

That honor earned him a trip to the 2008 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Riverside, Calif., for his dramatic reading of "Greetings."

Metoyer, a Vietnam-era veteran, earned a Therapeutic Arts Scholarship to the festival. This is the first year the scholarship was offered.

Metoyer was one of 130 veterans from across the nation who were invited to the event.

"Winning a gold medal at our local creative arts competition has allowed me to achieve one of my artistic goals," he said. "That has motivated me to continue working toward other long-term goals."

The reading was an excerpt from a 2007 Internet posting by another veteran, Ronald Wheatley, called "War and Peace Corps, Elusive Dreams."

Elusive Dreams
by Ronald Wheatley (Nigeria 1963-65) at
Peace Corps Writers

Metoyer edited the piece for time and dramatic effect.

"It was a challenge to select a passage which would fit the three minute limit of the dramatic reading," Metoyer said. "I was able to identify with several aspects of Wheatley's experience. I am thrilled that his writings helped me earn a national gold medal."

Wheatley had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria from 1963 to 1965 and worked for a year as a teacher before enlisting in 1967. Come to find out, Wheatley was moved from Vietnam to the U.S. Army 106th General Hospital in Yokohama, Japan, just after Metoyer had completed his service there in 1967.

Metoyer was a social work technician at the hospital in Yokohama from December 1965 to June 1967; one of his jobs "was to assist the medical staff to help soldiers burned in Vietnam adapt to their situation."

"Our team afforded the patients the opportunity to ventilate the range of emotions they were experiencing," he said. "This process helped the soldiers accept their condition and usually prevented inappropriate acting out and sabotaging their medical treatment."

Wheatley, now an attorney near Boston, said, "I was just as thrilled as Patrick to hear of his award, and was honored that he had chosen a selection from something I had written."

In addition to performing his dramatic reading, Metoyer was part of a 70-member chorus that rehearsed and staged a variety show in less than a week. In the opening medley, Metoyer took the part of the Tin Man from "Wizard of Oz," accompanied by Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow.

The festival is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Help Hospitalized Veterans and The American Legion Auxiliary.

Patrick also began to participate in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (NVCAF), which medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help Veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. Across the country each year, Veterans treated at VA facilities compete for festival awards.

He can be heard talking about his work in a 2014 interview by American Legion Auxillary HQ posted at Soundcloud.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs named him Veteran of the Day on 2 November 2014 as announced on Facebook and Twitter.

Patrick Metoyer Patrick Metoyer, in 1965 and 2014
Veteran of the Day, 2 November 2014

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

November 2, 2014

Today's Veteran of the Day is Patrick Metoyer. Patrick served in the U.S. Army and now resides in Colorado. He is currently attending the 2014 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after winning a gold medal for his Fiber Art design called "Leaning Tower." Over the past 20 years, Patrick has found art therapy as a personal source of healing and relaxation and says that "the arts are a welcome distraction from life's challenges."

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Recent links

2015 Americal Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Soundcloud talk
Interview with Patrick Metoyer, 2014 NVCAF Participant
Interview with Partick Metoyer, gold medalist in Original Design in Fiber Arts, Art Division, from Grand Junction, Colorado

22 April 2019 Mesa County Oral History Project interview
Local History Thursday: How U.S. Veteran Patrick Metoyer Became An Activist For Mental Health
Mesa County Libraries video interview by Noel Kalenian
2 MP4 video files (39:18, 25:35) and transcripts
Posted by Noel on 23 January 2020 on website of
Mesa County Libraries, Colorado

From about 23:00 to 29:00 in the 1st video file, Patrick tells part of his own "war story" -- from the perspective of his service as an Army social worker at the 106th General Hospital from 1966-1967. His story embraces the stories of men like Richard Sisk (1968), Roger Jacobs (1967), and Robert Timberg (1967) (see their stories below). Patrick puts it poetically like this.

Three marines turned journalists
Three who lived to write and tell three war stories
Aside from their membership as Marine frat brothers
Each made his way to the US Army 106th General Hospital, in Yokohama, Japan
My duty station from 1965 to 1967 . . . .


Red Cross Pacific Stars and Stripes
18 September 1967, page 7
Red Cross Pacific Stars and Stripes
17 April 1970, page 17

Red Cross

The Red Cross is everywhere a symbol of medical care but also of good will. What is known today as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) originated in Switzerland, but there are numerous national and other groups that share the common Red Cross or Red Crescent mission of providing humanitarian aid and relief to people, and carrying out vaccination and blood donation work, not only in times of war but under peaceful conditions, and of course also in response to natural disasters.

Red Cross organizations are nominally charitable entities, but at the same time they are businesses with salaried officers and employees and at times political interests. The American Red Cross (ARC), for example, has been involved in a number of law suits and scandals concerning its operations.

At a grass roots level, however, most people -- including patients at the 106th General Hospital -- know the Red Cross as mainly female volunteers who perform various kinds of social work and participate in recreational activities.

Like all charitable organizations, the Red Cross invests a considerable amount of its human and financial resources in public relations and funding campaigns, and in building camaraderie among its members and awarding them for their service -- which is mainly what the articles shown here are about.

Yohi volunteers

One of the articles (above right) refers to the 106th General Hospital as Kishine Hospital. Many people who have written about their experiences at the hospital, in fact, remember its name as "Kishine".

Janet Bready arrived with her Army family in Japan on 2 September 1966. The family was supposed to live at Camp Zama but ended up residing in Negishi in Yokohama. She attended Yokohama American High School and would have graduated with the class of 1970 but returned to the United States in August 1969. The tells this story on the Yohi Devils alumni site.

As President of the [Yohi] Red Cross I was able to attend a Red Cross youth camp one summer at the foot of Mt Fuji. I attended with other military brats from all different bases in Japan. That did give me the opportunity to see more of Japan than just our general base area. Also being involved in the Red Cross we went to Kishine hospital monthly and always had some kind of activities for the wounded servicemen. I remember one Christmas Eve going to the hospital and having a Christmas party for them and it was so touching. The guys could not believe that a bunch of 14-15 year old girls cared enough to give up their time to visit them and to try and make their Christmas a little nicer.


Sports Click on image for readable pdf file
Pacific Stars and Stripes
28 September 1966, page 23


While stationed with the 106th General Hospital at Kishine Barracks, the furthest thing from my mind was sports.

I am not unathletic. I played baseball in elementary and junior high school intramural tournaments and in the local Babe Ruth summer league. I didn't make the cut on the varsity teams in high school, but I played basketball on non-varsity teams, and played in pick-up games with friends. I liked football but was too small and light, or perhaps just not tough enough, to play in more than pick-up games.

Baseball, though, has been my favorite sport. I prefer hard ball and don't especially like softball, at least not of the kind I sometimes played in the United States, with a large ball pitched underhand. After settling in Japan, though, I played Japanese style softball, which uses a ball that is close to the size of a hardball and is pitched overhand, in pick-up games with students and other teachers at a school where I taught. I even played a few games, in uniform, with the team of a magazine I worked for as a contributor and editor, and in fact I gave the team its name -- "EJays" -- based on the magazine's name, The English Journal.

I no longer play in games, but I still have a couple of gloves -- including a glove I bought when in high school -- and a bag of balls and a bat at my home, ready for any visitor who is willing to go to a nearby field to play catch or bat a few flies. The bat is parked in the genkan (front entrance) of my home -- in the plastic beer-bottle crate I use as an umbrella rack -- ready to swing at a burglar or other unwelcome visitor. It's the closest thing to a weapon of mass destruction I have in my home, other than my computer keyboard. I believe that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I also believe that one needs to be prepared. So far I've used the bat only once to defend myself, against a huge cockroach which had survived the mine field of traps I refresh each year.

But at Kishine Barracks in 1965-1966, I was too busy to think of sports. I can't honesty remember that the 106th General Hospital even had a team. I knew there was a field, but I have no recollection of ever wandering that far east side of the headquarters area. I don't believe I ever set foot in the gymnasium, movie theater, or NCO club either.

So it was truly "news" for me to read in the Pacific Stars and Stripes, when going through its on-line archives in search of articles about Kishine or the 106th, to find the sports section full of reports about softball and basketball games and playoffs, in which Kishine or the 106th were often featured as strong contenders.

Not surprisingly, the 106th and the 249th hospitals were frequently in the playoffs and not infrequently pennant rivals. I say not surprisingly because, when you think about it, it's easier for a large general hospital running at full capacity -- than a smaller unit -- to put together a strong team.

Pheasant, duck, and deer hunting on Cheju-do
Trap shooting at South Camp Drake

As if there wasn't enough shooting going on in Vietnam, military personnel in the Tokyo-Yokohama area had opportunities to get hunting licenses for pheasant, duck, and roe deer on Cheju-do island in Korea. And bird hunters bent on bagging the limit could hone their shooting skills at the Tachikawa Skeet Club, or in Japan-U.S. "friendship" competitions sponsored by the Tokyo Skeet and Trap Club.



Celebrities Pacific Stars and Stripes
5 May 1967, page 7
Celebrities Pacific Stars and Stripes
3 November 1966, page 19
Celebrities Pacific Stars and Stripes
28 January 1968, page 17

Medals and awards for extraordinary service
All manner to well-known and lessor-known singers, comedians, dancers, and other performers made the rounds of military bases in Japan, especially the hospitals, during the Vietnam War, some before, others after, swinging through Vietnam. Bob Hope visited Kishine Barracks in 1967, and Alan Pierce (below), who at the time of Hope's visit was holding down a public information post at the 106th, lived to tell about it.


Milieu Pacific Stars and Stripes
31 August 1966, page 17
Milieu Pacific Stars and Stripes
4 August 1967, page 7


The Pacific Stars and Stripes gave quite a bit of space to political and social issues in Japan, in addition to its focus on U.S. and world news. There is no end to the list of interesting and at times amusing briefs that helped relieve the tedium of ordinary incident reports.

Japan Defense Agency uniforms

As someone who has done his share of commuting by train into Tokyo from various residences mostly outside the city, I can testify to never having seen anyone commute in a Self-Defense Force or even police uniform. Uniformed airlines personnel are also rarely seen on trains, even near airports.

Middle school and high school students wear uniforms to and from school. Older students who want to play after school at places where they are not supposed to play, such as at game centers or other places where a uniform would make them conspicuous, will change into other clothes before hitting the entertainment quarters.

People who need to wear uniforms at work almost invariably commute in street clothes and change at their offices or factories. Jokes about janitors commuting in business suites with briefcases so neighbors will think they have a high status job are funny because they have elements of truth.


All mosquito-borne diseases were a potential threat in Japan in the 1960s when the 106th General Hospital was at Kishine Barracks. The malaria ward took strict measures to make sure that mosquitoes did not cross the thresholds ward doors, either in the air or on clothing or in hair or other objects.

Special care was taken when drawing and handling blood specimens of patients being treated for malaria or other diseases that could be transmitted through contaminated blood. The main concerns were being pricked with a contaminated needle, or contaminated blood coming into contact with an open sore.

In those days, we did not generally wear protective gloves when handling blood or other routine specimens. Nor did we wear protective goggles or masks when performing routine chemistry and bacteriology procedures. We had hoods but rarely had to use them.

We were just careful. And of course we used lots of PHisoHex and wore freshly laundered whites every day.

I got in the habit of using PHisoHex to wash my face, and I continued to buy it in drug stores after returning to civilian life. I was disappointed when one day I found only PHisoDerm, and then it too disappeared from the shelves. Both trade names are back but the product lines are different. And the green plastic bottles are history -- except for a couple I still have, which are still full.


ASPAC 1969 Click on image to enlarge
Pacific Stars and Stripes
11 June 1969, page 7

Security issues in the late 1960s and early 1970s

By 1968, when the United States began pulling some combat units out of Vietnam, PRC was in the throes of the Cultural Revolution. Both the United States and Japan would have liked to normalize their relations with PRC, but the political instability on the mainland, and its siding with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) in the Vietnam War, made it difficult to include PRC in regional talks initiated mainly by non-Communist states.

In many respects, Southeast Asia was a minor security problem. From a regional security point of view, the United States should never have become involved in Vietnam's civil wars in the first place, but let the natural selection take its political course and establish friendly relations with which ever government, north or south, emerged the winner. But far more important for the United States were the problems that had developed in China and Korea after the Pacific War.

Not only did these problems remain unsettled, but Okinawa came to be seen as the strategic heart of America's Northeast Asian security operations. The continued instability in East and Northeast Asia provoked considerable controversy in the United States, among people concerned about security in the Western Pacific, as to whether and under what conditions America should return Okinawa to Japan.

While the United States did return Okinawa, it did so under conditions that allowed it to continue to maintain its virtual extraterritorial military bases on the islands, which remain today, nearly half a century later. The instability of the region today is no longer domestic but nationalistic, as fairly strong regimes confront one another over old and new territorial issues. And as before, the presence of U.S. forces in Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Philippines and elsewhere, are not necessarily stabilizing factors.

Security issues in the late 1940s and early 1950s

Anyone following news about today's confrontations between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Democratic People's Republic Korea (DPRK) -- and the continuing conflicts Japan has with Russia and the Republic of Korea (ROK), as well as with PRC and DPRK -- all go back to post-World War II territorial issues that emerged in China and Korea (Chosen) when both of these entities divided into rival states.

PRC emerged in 1949 and drove ROC into exile on Taiwan, which had been part of Japan between 1895 and 1945. ROK and DPRK had been established in 1948 on the divided Korean (Chosen) peninsula, which had been part of Japan from 1910 to 1945. Legally, Japan didn't formally renounce its sovereignty over Taiwan and Chosen until 1952 when the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect, but ROC had occupied Taiwan after Japan surrendered in 1945, and the Soviet Union and the United States had occupied Chosen north and south of the 38th parallel.

The civil war between communist and nationalist forces in China had started long before Japan invaded China in 1937. Japan's invasion inspired both sides to suspend their hostilities against each other in order to resist Japan, which had driven the nationalist government into exile in Chungking and engaged communist forces in northern China.

After the return of the nationalist ROC government to Nanking (Nanjing) in September 1945, the civil war resumed, with both sides better armed than before, and some Japanese stragglers in the north joined the communists. By October 1949, the communists had formed a new government (PRC) in Peking (Beijing), and the People's Liberation Army drove the nationalists into exile on Taiwan.

Then on 25 June 1950, the following year, DPRK, which claimed the entire Korean (Chosen) peninsula, invaded ROK, which also claimed the entire peninsula. DPRK took advantage of the withdrawal by then of most of the U.S. military forces which had occupied the southern part of Chosen, as well as many of the combat units that had occupied Japan's prefectures in 1945. Had DPRK waited another year or so, its invasion forces would easily have pushed what little remained of U.S. forces off the peninsula, and it is highly unlikely that the United States would have attempted to recapture the south as it did with its counter invasion at Inchon in September 1950.

In 1950, the United States was more concerned about the continuing hostilities between PRC and ROC across the Taiwan Straits, than about the possibility of war in Korea. Whether to defend ROK in the event of an invasion from DPRK was controversial in Washington, where a certain ambivalency or complacency about the Korean peninsula prevailed, hence the sort of "let ROK defend itself" or "who cares" attitudes behind the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the south as well as from Japan.

American military bases would probably not have remained in Japan after 1952 had Korea (Chosen) -- which had been part of Japan and was supposed to regain independence as a single state -- not been divided into two regimes that went to war in 1950. To some extent, the start of the Korean War, and the involvement PRC's commitment of PLA forces to the war, relieved the pressure PRC had been putting on ROC across the Taiwan Straits. The United States was as much opposed to PRC's threat's against ROC, as to ROC's ambitions to launch attacks against PRC in an attempt to regain its control of the continent. The stationing of U.S. naval forces in the Taiwan Straits actually had the effect of alleviating PRC's fears of an invasion from ROC. While PRC flooded the Korean peninsula with its forces, ROC was allowed not allowed to contribute combat units to the United Nations forces in Korea.

As of the early 1960s, the 1953 armistice in the Korean (Chosen) War was still fragile, but the standoff between PRC and ROC across the Taiwan Straits had ceased to a huge worry for the United States. Until the start of the Vietnam War in 1964, practically all U.S. military bases still in Japan were there to support U.S. troops in the Republic of Korea. All that, of course, quickly changed, as the United States scampered to turn Japan into a major support base for U.S. forces in Vietnam.


Navy Medical Newsletter July 1970 Navy Medical Newsletter
"Special report on burns" and digests of other
papers by 106th General Hospital medical staff

Medical reports

The medical profession both thrives and survives on sharing experience in the form case histories and research findings. Sharing experiences becomes even more important in times of war when doctors in the field face unprecedented conditions and challenges. The Vietnam War was no exception. And it was well before the electronic age we live in today when arguably it is much easier than in the past to convene conferences and publish papers, and opportunities and motivation to contribute are probably greater.

All of the following 8 reports were made by MC (medical corps) and MSC (medical service corps) specialists at the 106th General Hospital. One of the reports is in-depth study of burn patients.

6 of the 8 reports are digests of papers presented at "The Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fourth Conference on War Surgery" convened at the Sanno Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, from 16 to 19 February 1970. The digests were published with the digests of a few other reports by doctors at other military hospitals under the title "Highlights of CINCPAC Fourth Conference on War Surgery" in the July 1970 issue of Navy Medical Newsletter (U.S. Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Vol. 56, No. 1, pages 8-10). The digests were compiled by three USN MC conference attendees.

The special report on burns, also published in the above newsletter (pages 10-13), was not a digest but a reproduction of the full report as published in the proceedings of the same CINCPAC Fourth Conference on War Surgery.

"Bacteremia due to Serratia marcescens" was published in Trauma, The Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection & Critical Care, May 1971, Volume II, Number 5, pages 417-421, which is available from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) @ Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

By February 1970, when most of these reports were made, the 106th General Hospital was already beginning to phase out its operations in preporation for demobilization and return of the site of Kishine Barracks to Yokohama city.


Penetrating Injuries of the Abdomen

Lieutenant Colonel Bohn D. Allen

U.S. Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Navy Medical Newsletter
July 1970, Vol. 56, No. 1, page 10

"Review of 1200 Penetrating Injuries of the Abdomen" was presented by LCOL Bohn D. Allen, MC, USA, 106th General Hospital. The need for strict adherence to the basic surgical principle of adequate posterior dependent drainage at the time of initial surgery in severe abdominal wounds was admirably demonstrated by the author. A high complication rate (50%) resulting from T-tube drainage of the common bile duct in treating liver injuries was noted; in comparable patients, the complication rate was 30% when T-tubes were not used. A staggering complication rate of 71% was reported for primary ileocolostomy procedures performed in cases of right colon injury. It was strongly recommended that ileocolostomy procedure be replaced by end-ileostomy and mucous fistula.


Bacteremia Due to Serratia Marcescens

Edward Y. Henjyoji, Captain, MC, Theodore C. Whitson, Major, MC,
David K. Ohashi, Captain, MSC, and and Bohn D. Allen, LTC, MC

The Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection & Critical Care
May 1971, Volume II, Number 5, pages 417-421
(Copyright © 1971 by The Williams & Wilkins Co.)

The following journal article (first page only) is of special interest to me because it reports a study of Serratia marcescens infections. Serratia marcescens, the culprit in such infections, was encountered in the bacteriology section of the pathology laboratory at the 106th General Hospital at the time I was part of this section (see Bacteriology below). Captain Ohashi, the MSC officer who participated in the study, succeeded Captain James Terry, my immediate supervisor (see letters from Dr. Pusch below).

Only the first page of "Bacteremia Due to Serratia Marcescens" is shown here. For the full article, see
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) @ Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

The Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection & Critical Care
May 1971, Volume II, Number 5, pages 417-421
(Copyright © 1971 by The Williams & Wilkins Co.)



From 106th General Hospital, Yokohama, Japan

In the past several years, infections due to Serratia marcescens have been recognized more frequently. This Gram-negative bacillus of the species Enterobacteriaceace had generally been considered a nonpathogen for man. Recently, S. marcescens has been identified as the causative organism of clinical sepsis in various clinical conditions in which diminished host resistance and mechanical or hormonal predisposition to bacterial infections exist. These clinical conditions include prolonged systemic steroid or antibiotic therapy, use of intravenous and intraperitoneal catheterization, urinary tract malformations and obstructions, bronchietasis, and diabetes mellitus.

The previous scarcity of S. marcescens bacteremia in burned patients is documented by the data from Brooke General Hospital. S. marcescens bacteremia occurred in only one burned patient in the years 1954-1959 (19) and in three burned patients in the years 1963-1967 (11-13). However, there is evidence of increasing prevalence and pathogenicity of this organism. We have previously reported that in a Sulfamylon®-treated group of fatal burns, Serratia marcescens was the most prevalent organism found in positive blood cultures (6 out of 17 bacteremias) followed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (4 out of 17).

Most of the earlier reports were concerned with the strains of S. marcescens producing the red pigment, prodigiosin. In fact, the organism is still referred to by some as Bacillus prodigiosus. However, biochemical and scrotyping methods have shown that the majority of strains do not produce red pigment (8). Their identification and separation from the paracolon bacilli have been well outlined by Edwards and Ewing (5, 7).

This report includes the clinical and bacteriologic features of 35 episodes of Serratia marcescens bacteremia documented in American military casualties at the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama, Japan in the years 1966 to February 1969.



The records of all patients with blood cultures positive for S. marcescens were reviewed. The presence of intravenous polyethelyene catheters, Foley catheters, tracheostomies, thoracostomies, open wounds, and burn wounds was noted. Cultures from these catheters, tubes, and wounds, and the results of all other bacteriologic cultures taken from these patients during their hospitalization were tabulated.


The laboratory identification of the S. marcescens was based on colonial morphology on blood agar and eosin-methylene blue agar and appropriate biochemical tests (5). All blood cultures were subcultured to broth and solid media at 1, 3, and 10 days. Iso- . . . [ continued on next page ]

The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the Surgeon General, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense.

* Present address and address for reprints: Theodore C. Whitson, M.D., Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32601.

† E. Y. Henjyoji, T. C. Whitson, and B. D. Allen: Clinical and pathological correlations in 101 fatal burns. Presented at at Association of Military Surgeons, Yokosuka, Japan, 1968.


Bacterial Flora in Wounds

Captain D. K. Ohashi

U.S. Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Navy Medical Newsletter
July 1970, Vol. 56, No. 1, pages 8-9

This report focuses mainly on the bacteriology of infections. The above multi-authored report, published the following year, is more from a medical viewpoint, as reflected by the line-up of MC contributors. Captain Ohashi, an MSC, replaced Captain Terry, the MSC who headed the bacteriology section, and as such was my immediate supervisor (see Bacteriology below for details.

"The Bacterial Flora in Wounds of U.S. Armed Forces Patients Evacuated from Vietnam to PACOM [Pacific Command] Hospitals" was presented by CPT D. K. Ohashi, MSC, USA, 106th General Hospital, Kishine, Japan. Klebsiella and Aerobacter were most frequently grown on cultures from burn wounds; Klebsiella and Escherichia were most frequently found in patients with non-burn wounds. From traumatic wounds unassociated with burns, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus and E. coli were commonly cultured. Cultures obtained from intravenous cannula tips (plastic intra-catheters) removed after 48 hours or more were positive for Klebsiella, Pseudomonas and/or Escherichia in 68.6% of the cases. Sensitivity studies generally revealed Klebsiella to be sensitive to Keflin and Pseudomonas sensitive to kanamycin. Best results in sensitivity studies were achieved by the tube dilution method.


Special report on "Burns" centering on cases at the 106th General Hospital

Lieutenant Colonel Bohn D. Allen

U.S. Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Navy Medical Newsletter
July 1970, Vol. 56, No. 1, pages 10-12

Most of the main body of this report has been omitted here. For the full article, see
U.S. Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Navy Medical Newsletter, July 1970, Vol. 56, No. 1, pages 10-12.


* Taken from proceedings of CINCPAC Fourth Conference on War Surgery, February 1970.

1. General

Burned casualties in RVN (Republic of Vietnam) have increased in numbers and are requiring more and more attention. These burns at the present time are usually reaching a definitive treatment facility by helicopter in less than 40 minutes from the time of injury. These patients are resuscitated and definitive debridement is carried out at this echelon before the patient is evacuated to a PACOM hospital. Most severe burns are reaching the Burn Center in Japan within 48 to 72 hours after being burned.

At the present time the majority of burns from RVN are evacuated to the Burn Center at the 106th General Hospital in Japan. This Burn Center was established in February of 1967 and since that time has received a majority of burns over 20 per cent TBS regardless of service branch. By centralizing the burn patients, a regimen for management which is uniform has been established. Patients can now be better stabilized and the disposition made in a more uniform manner. Those patients with small burns can be treated and returned to duty. Patients with moderate burns that are all partial thickness can be treated and then evacuated to the hospital closest to home. Those patients with more extensive burns associated with full thickness skin loss can be further resuscitated and stabilized. When the patient is stable, he can be safely evacuated back to CONUS [Continental United States].

In general, burns are being treated by resuscitation, debridement and application of Sulfamylon in RVN. After arrival in Japan, Sulfamylon therapy is continued until the patient is evacuated or the burns have healed.

[ Omission ] (see above link for full article)

4. Antibiotics

All burns other than the small superficial partial thickness bum should receive penicillin for the first seven days post-bum, to eliminate infection by Bhemolytic streptococcus which may occur. After this period antibiotics are discontinued and are only employed when specifically indicated, as in urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and septic phlebitis.

[ Omission ] (see above link for full article)

Recommendations for Treatment

  1. At the first echelon of medical care, all clothing should be removed and lavage with copper sulfate solution should be followed by wet (water or saline) dressings, to prevent re-ignition of phosphrous particles prior to their definitive removal in a hospital.

  2. Resuscitation in conformity with the standard principles for management of a burned patient.

  3. Top priority debridement of the areas of phosphrous burns with total removal of phosphrous particles. Removed phosphrous particles should be placed under water to prevent operating room fire.

  4. Continued evaluation of hemolysis and hepatotoxicity of uncomplicated phosphrous burns regardless of percentage of total body surface burned.

  5. Management of acute renal failure by conventional methods.

  6. Routine measurement of 24-hour urine, copper and blood ceruloplasmin when copper sulfate is used in initial treatment together with search for previous exposure to other known oxidants.

  7. Serial calcium and phosphate studies should be obtained along with frequent or constant ECG monitoring. Hypocalcemia with hyperphosphatemia may result and lead to cardiac arrhythmia. This may be managed by adequate oxygenation together with infusion of 0.1% xylocaine and IV calcium sufficient to correct the hypocalcemia.

Notes of Caution

  1. Anesthesia: Caution is necessary in administering a general anesthetic to a burn patient (See Anesthesia Section); Anectine + hyperkalemia = death!

  2. Sulfamylon treatment: In the event of significant acidosis, the Sulfamylon cream should be removed and therapy resumed 24 hours later.

  3. Urine output: If urine output falls after the third to fourth day, furosemide or ethacrynic acid shoul4 be relied upon rather than excessive volumes of sodium bicarbonate, Plasmanate or mannitol, to reduce the risk of acute pulmonary insufficiency.


Fat Embolism

Lieutenant Colonel H. G. Williamson

U.S. Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Navy Medical Newsletter
July 1970, Vol. 56, No. 1, page 9

"Fat Embolism: A Questionable Clinical Diagnosis" was presented by LCOL H. G. Williamson, MC, USA, 106th General Hospital. Out of 40,000 admissions to the 106th General Hospital, six cases of fat embolism with a 50% mortality rate had been encountered by the orthopedic service. Four of the six cases occurred in patients who presented multiple fractures; the remaining two cases involved patients with minor fractures. Their clinical courses were characterized by progressive respiratory insufficiency with hyperpyrexia, tachycardia, tachypnea and elevated blood pressure.

Although infarction is considered the end result of a true embolus, infarction was not found in the involved organs (lung, brain and kidney) of these patients. Pathological findings included perivascular edema and capillary ruptures with multiple areas of interstitial hemorrhage wherein globules of fat were noted. It was considered that capillary flow sludging led to associated injury of the capillaries, local and systemic anoxia, extravasation of fatty acids into adjacent interstitial tissue, and vascularitis. In the end result, local tissue hypoxia progressed to a systemic hypoxemia. The primary objective of therapy was best directed toward treatment of local and systemic hypoxemia, was the general concensus.


Acute Pulmonary Insufficiency

Lieutenant Colonel Bohn D. Allen

U.S. Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Navy Medical Newsletter
July 1970, Vol. 56, No. 1, page 8

"Acute Pulmonary Insufficiency" by LCOL Bohn D. Allen, MC, USA, 106th General Hospital, Kishine, Japan was based upon experience in treatment of over 3,000 burn patients at the latter hospital. Sulfamylon therapy has reduced burn sepsis to a minimum, but an increase in deaths from acute pulmonary insufficiency has been noted. Excluding patients with significant associated trauma, practically no mortality in patients with 40% third degree burns or less had occurred. In the case of .patients with 40-60% third degree burns, deaths were primarily attributed to acute pulmonary insufficiency. No survivals were reported among patients with more than 80% third degree burns.

Pulmonary insufficiency patients presented persistent and progressive tachycardia and hyperpnea with associated progressive hypoxemia. Chest X-rays revealed diffuse exudates which then become confluent; concomitant decrease in P0 2 and pH with a rise in PCO a were characteristic.

The following etiological factors were reviewed: prolonged hyperventilation; prolonged anoxemia; release of toxins; low pulmonary blood flow status; overinfusion with fluids low in colloids and high in sodium; surfactant abnormality; decreased pulmonary vascular tone; congestive atelectasis with abnormalities in the microcirculation; oxygen toxicity leading to hyaline membrane formation, and; disseminated intravascular coagulation and thromboembolism. Increased release of tissue thromboplastin, associated decrease in Factors II, V, VI, VIII, and X, with fibrinolysin abnormality, were encountered in thromboembolic cases.

Dr. Allen detected no significant difference in pulmonary insufficiency encountered in burn cases as compared to pulmonary insufficiency presented by patients in septic or hemorrhagic shock or in cases of severe non-thoracic trauma. Similarly, pathophysiological changes in the kidney, liver and brain resembled those seen in the lungs of patients with acute pulmonary insufficiency of traumatic origin; these changes were most compatible with a disseminated intravascular clotting abnormality and the associated thromboembolic phenomenon seen under these conditions.


Septic Phlebitis and Its Management

Lieutenant Colonel Bohn D. Allen

U.S. Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Navy Medical Newsletter
July 1970, Vol. 56, No. 1, page 9

"Septic Phlebitis and Its Management" was presented by LCOL Bohn D. Allen, MC, USA, 106th General Hospital. He urged that a large central vein be employed in projected long term intravenous fluid therapy. The condition was reported to develop much more frequently when indwelling plastic catheters were positioned in small veins such as those in the lower extremity, hand, forearm and neck. The important clinical features cited were induration and cellulitis over the course of the involved vein with expression of cloudy serum or frank pus upon milking the vein toward the entrance of the catheter. The recommended treatment was total excision of the involved vein following proximal ligation of the vein to prevent systemic dissemination, with delayed primary closure of the wound. Consideration of a return to the use of needles for intravenous fluid therapy (rather than continued use of plastic catheters in small veins) was advised.


Treatment of Vascular Injuries

Colonel Jackie Jacobs

U.S. Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Navy Medical Newsletter
July 1970, Vol. 56, No. 1, pages 9-10

"The Anatomic and Physiologic Basis for Treatment of Vascular Injuries -- a Review of 480 Cases at the 106th General Hospital" was presented by COL Jackie Jacobs, MC, USA. Assuring an adequate closing pressure, which reflects an adequate flow, is essential in vascular repairs. To insure patency, the critical closing arterial pressure is 20 mm Hg; pressures below this level are associated with a minimal flow rate and occlusions following arterial repair under these conditions are common. Most vascular repairs from war trauma can be accomplished by excising the damaged area and performing an end-to-end anastomosis. If excessive tension is anticipated however, a vein graft is warranted. Fasciotomies of all significant distal compartments was recommended. Following an approximation or graft, if there is minimal flow but a viable extremity as evidenced by satisfactory capillary flow, or if an anastomotic leak develops from an anastomotic disruption , treatment by ligation of the vessel is recommended, to preserve the collaterals and frequently the extremity. Results of arterial ligation have been superior to those obtained where second grafting procedures have been attempted in an infected field. Collateral vessels are often disrupted by an attempt to insert a second graft, further compromising distal circulation to the extremity. End-to-end anastomosis or a vein graft was considered superior to patch grafting in injuries resulting from penetrating wounds.


(a) Longitudinal study of cases from 106th General Hospital (1966-1970)

Raymond J. Bagg Jr.

(b) Longitudinal survey of 169 RVN amputees created (1978)

Gerald W. Mayfield and Raymond J. Bagg Jr.

(a) cited by Colonel William E. Burkhalter, MC USA (Ret.)
(b) cited by Colonel Gerald W. Mayfield, MC, USA (Ret.)
In Chapters 3 and 7 in Colonel William E. Burkhalter, MC USA (Ret.), editor
Orthopedic Surgery in Vietnam
Medical Department, United States Army, Surgery in Vietnam, Orthopedic Surgery
Office of the Surgeon General and Center of Military History
United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1994

The Medical Department of the United States Army describes this volume as follows.

The volumes comprising the official history of the Medical Department of the United States Army in Vietnam are prepared by the U.S. Army Center of Military History and published under the direction of the Surgeon General and the Chief of Military History. These volumes are divided into two groups, (1) the professional, or clinical and technical, and (2) medically related subjects. This is the third volume of the former group; the first two volumes are entitled "Skin Diseases in Vietnam, 1965-72," and "General Medicine and Infectious Diseases."

The following citations from the above source are slightly reformated versions of the chapters published on the Internet by the U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History. See Orthopedic Surgery in Vietnam, and Chapter 3 and Chapter 7, for full texts.

[ Page 39 ]

Chapter 3


Colonel William E. Burkhalter, MC, USA (Ret.)


[ . . . ]

[ Page 40 ]


[ Page 44 ]


[ Page 47 ]

[ . . . ]

In a series of 200 tibial fractures that were treated at the 106th General Hospital in Japan and were followed by record in two hospitals in the United States (Bagg 1966-70), thirteen extremities required some type of amputation, either before or after arrival at the 106th or in a follow-up hospital. The most common cause for these amputations was failure to control sepsis. This was previously reported by Schmitt and Armstrong (1970) from the U.S. Air Force Hospital, Clark Air Base, in the Philippines, for the period 1965 through 1967. Ten of the amputations in the 106th General Hospital series were below the knee and three were above the knee or disarticulations of the knee. Five of the patients were lost to follow-up before a definitive decision was made regarding function of the leg and union of the bone.

[Note to Figure 1, page 41]   Raymond Bagg, M. D. (Col., MC, USA, Ret.), unpublished records of a longitudinal study of cases from 106th General Hospital (1966-1970). William E. Burkhalter, M.D., (Col., MC, USA, Ret.) and D. Reich, M.D. Deep posterior compartment syndrome in the lower extremity.

Bagg's figures -- "13 of 200 tibia fractures require amputation, 10 below knee and three above knee" -- continue to be cited in amputation studies. See Traumatic Amputation and Prosthetics (Independent Study Course, May 2002, Department of Veterans Affairs, Employee Education System) for a short, clear, and comprehensive overview of the fateful choice surgeons and patients face, as to whether to amputate or attempt to salvage a severely traumatized limb.

[ Page 131]

Chapter 7


Colonel Gerald W. Mayfield, MC, USA (Ret.)


Wounding agents during the Vietnam War differed from those in previous conflicts. In World Wars I and II, and in Korea, artillery had been the greatest threat to the soldier. In World War II, land mines and shell fragments caused a majority of the wounds that resulted in amputation and were responsible for an increase to 5.3 percent of troops suffering major amputations from the 2 percent from World War I (Cleveland and Shands 1970). Vietnam saw a significant shift in both the characteristics and the management of those wounds which caused the loss of a limb. The enemy had few heavy weapons, and, as a result, most casualties were caused by rifle and machine gun fires, mines, and booby traps. Such weapons had inherently greater destructive potential than shell fragments and made the proportion of limb-threatening wounds greater. Of these, mines and booby traps, weapons that exploded at very close range, caused the greatest trauma and accounted for approximately 55 percent of all amputations in one series. On the other hand, gunshot wounds caused only 8 percent of the amputations in the same series.

Although the proportion of limb-threatening wounds was greater in the Vietnam War than in previous conflicts, rapid helicopter evacuation from the wounding site to a surgical facility that could resuscitate and treat all wounds expeditiously saved many apparently fatally wounded soldiers. Ironically, this success also dramatically increased the proportion of survivors with multiple amputations. Soldiers with more than one extremity amputated had accounted for 2 percent of the wounded in World War I and 5 percent in World War II. But during the Vietnam War multiple extremity amputations rose to 19 percent in one series of 415 amputee patients and to 18 percent in a longitudinal survey of 169 amputees. Many of these ablations were the result of inadequate vascular flow to the distal portion of the extremity.

Even in cases of multiple system injuries, surgeons made every effort to save an extremity. Many facets of the patient's condition were considered before making the decision to amputate. Decisions were easy if the soldier arrived from the battlefield with a completely nonviable limb attached to the proximal segment by a few strands of tissue, or if there was complete absence of the distal portion. In contrast, decisions were difficult if the patient had a proximal wound with varying degrees of structural instability, tissue viability, infection, and altered states of nerve and vascular supply to the distal part. American surgeons usually practiced a conservative approach to amputation, believing that the World War II experience demonstrated that reconstruction of severely injured extremities could be accomplished if surgeons provided proper initial debridement, meticulous wound care, and appropriate fracture management.

[ Page 132 ]

In general, management paralleled guidelines listed in the NATO Handbook, Emergency War Surgery(1958). However, deviations inevitably evolved. These deviations and their implications will be discussed in the following sections on management of amputees in different regional zones of treatment.


Treatment in Vietnam

Complete information concerning the management of Vietnam War amputees in the United States Armed Forces, from the time of injury to some subsequent stable point, is not available. The following narrative concerning amputee management is a composite of information gathered from published materials written by other orthopedic surgeons, a review of hospital records, and personal observations by surgeons from a number of medical facilities, including the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama, Japan; Valley Forge General Hospital in Pennsylvania; and Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, Colorado.

Geographic factors, combined with fluctuating patient loads from changing tactical situations in Vietnam, had a direct effect on the continuity of optimum management of the amputee. Most commonly a helicopter evacuated the patient from the battlefield to a hospital for evaluation of the extremity and wound assessment. If any distal portion of the extremity remained, the decision to amputate was made by or under the guidance of an orthopedic surgeon.

Subsequent to the amputation, the amputee was evacuated from Vietnam to a PACOM hospital within a few (three to ten) days. The time span depended on his general condition and the efficiency of the evacuation system. After an intermediate stage of evaluation and treatment in a PACOM [Pacific Command] hospital, where the average stay was fourteen days, the patient was evacuated to CONUS.

One of the most difficult decisions in the field of trauma surgery was whether to amputate an intact extremity with massive loss of bone, muscle, tendon, and nerve and with a compromised circulation. However, amputating at a preconceived "ideal" level was also discouraged. The ultimate course of treatment in the difficult-decision cases concerning amputation usually reflected, at least in the later stages of the evacuation chain, a joint patient-physician agreement. Amputation for life-threatening infections was performed occasionally. However, their incidence was lower in Vietnam than in previous conflicts. Amputation for established gas gangrene was rarely required. Col. Raymond Bagg reported in 1977 that hyperbaric oxygen was used successfully to avoid amputation in two cases of clostridial myofascitis at the 106th General Hospital in Japan.

Replantation of a sharply severed extremity was popular in civilian practice during the late 1960s and early 1970s, but replantation was apparently never attempted in the Vietnam War. Replantation may not be feasible even in future wars because of the devastating effects of wounding agents, nonavailability of an appropriate team and facilities, and the potential necessity for rapid evacuation.

In the Vietnam combat zone, open amputation was usually recommended. It was performed at the most distal point feasible, without regard to the "site of election." Surgeons emphasized debridement of all nonviable tissue and tried, if possi-

[ Page 133 ]

ble, to leave viable flaps. Frequently these flaps were irregular in contour and unsupported by underlying skeletal tissue. Appropriate support of these flaps with dressings and well-applied skin traction was necessary to preserve the viability of the flap. A notable exception was the failure of many primary Syme's-type amputations, because of necrosis of the heel pad portion of the stump.

[References, page 1952]   Mayfield, G. W., and Bagg, R. 1978. Longitudinal survey of 169 RVN amputees created. (Unpublished data) 106th General Hospital (Japan).

[ . . . ]


Early complications following penetrating wounds of the brain

Ralph E. Hagan, M.D.

Ralph E. Hagan, M.D.
Early complications following penetrating wounds of the brain
Journal of Neurosurgery
February 1971 (Volume 34, Number 2, Part 1), pages 132-141

The following absract of the above journal report is a slightly reformated version of the abstract as it was posted by the Journal of Neurosurgery, which see if you wish to read the entire article.

Early complications following penetrating wounds of the brain

Ralph E. Hagan, M.D.

Neurosurgical Service, U.S. Army 106th General Hospital, Yokohama, Japan


The experience of an evacuation hospital in Japan in treating 506 consecutive patients from Vietnam with penetrating wounds of the brain is reported with particular reference to early complications. Sixty-eight patients were operated on for still retained intracranial foreign bodies. Thirty-five of the 62 patients with retained intracranial bone fragments had positive microbial cultures of the fragment, which in 63% showed Staphylococcus epidermis. All of the metallic fragments cultured revealed microbial growth. Superficial infections were noted in 32 patients. Superficial plus deep infections were found in eight patients with no retained bone fragments. Eighteen patients had meningitis proven by culture, while an additional 12 patients with CSF [cerebral spinal fluid] sugars of less than 40 mg% were assumed to have meningitis. Twelve patients developed CSF leaks requiring surgery. Twenty-three patients (4.54%) died as a result of their wounds. The neurosurgical treatment recommended for these patients is described.

Address reprint requests to: Ralph E. Hagan, M.D., Suite 100, 1717 Bellevue Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23227.

By Keywords: brain abscess, brain injury, head injuries, intracranial foreign bodies, missile wound, retained bone fragments, Vietnam


History of Kishine and Kishine Barracks

The history of Kishine Barracks is bound up with the history of the Kishine area, which it occupied to the extent of nearly 30 percent, and of neighboring areas, all in relationship to the history of Yokohama city, and of Kanagawa prefecture, and ultimately of Japan and the rest of the world. This history is political more than social.

The story of Kishine Barracks could, of course, be told from a purely social perspective, through the personal experiences of those who were there, without reference to the political forces that created Kishine Barracks in the late 1950s, occasioned the deployment of the 106th General Hospital there in the mid 1960s. and caused the closure of the hospital and the barracks in the early 1970s. However, the social history of Kishine Barracks is better understood if unfolded in the context of its political history, which involves the way the Pacific War was settled -- or rather not settled, for the aftermaths of the war continue today.

Kishine Barracks originated after the Korean War, which was set into motion by the way the Allied Powers divided the peninsula, which had been part of the Empire of Japan. The barracks were built partly because, after the Korean War, the peninsula remained militarily unstable, and partly because Japan had become in all but name a military protectorate of the United States.

The deployment of the 106th General Hospital at the barracks, however, was an effect of the Vietnam War, which was also set into motion in the wake of the Pacific War. The demobilization of the 106th, and the return of the land to the city of Yokohama, were the consequences of troop reductions in Vietnam and alternative arrangements for supporting U.S. troops in Korea.

What I experienced at Kishine Barracks through the sometimes tense relationships with others who were at the 106th General Hospital, including military personnel and local staff, in the pursuit of our shared medical mission -- and what I learned through travel and personal intercourse with people outside the gates of the hospital -- are of course the most vital elements of the story of Kishine for me as an individual. Had I never been there, or known anyone who had been there, I would never have been motivated to write this. Yet in the course of writing my own story, I encountered the stories of others -- including those of the parliamentarians who debated the fate of Kishine in the chambers of the Japanese Diet, and those of Kishine residents relating half a century later their childhood memories of the mysterious barbed-wire enclave they associated with noise, pollution, and death.


Click on image to enlarge

Aerial photograph of Kishine Barracks from southwest
106th General Hospital, 1966, Stars and Stripes photograph

The surrounding neighborhoods are Sanmai lower left (west), Rokkakubashi lower right (south), and Shinohara upper right (east). The train station in the upper left (northeast) is Shin-Yokohama on the Shinkansen or Bullet Train line.

The H-shaped building in the center is the mess hall. The 4 large 4-story barracks immediately in front of the mess hall are the medical wards. Facing the wards from the mess hall are Buildings A-B to the left and Buildings C-D to the right. A and B, and C and D, are connected by 4-story enclosed bridges. B and C are connected by only a ground bridge. The bridges were built in early 1966 after the 106th General Hospital arrived in December 1965 and started operations.

The pathology laboratory occupied the small building close to Building B between B and C. The radiology lab was in the corresponding building close to Building D between D and the enlisted men's barracks (the 4-story barracks to the far right viewed from the mess hall). The building behind the EM barracks is the chapel.

Click on image to enlarge

Aerial photograph of Kishine Barracks from northwest
106th General Hospital, 1966, Stars and Stripes photograph

The surrounding neighborhoods are Sanmai upper right (west) and Rokkakubashi upper left (south).

The H-shaped building in the center is the mess hall. The 4 large 4-story barracks immediately in front of the mess hall are the medical wards. Facing the wards from the mess hall (looking toward the upper right or west) are wards A-B to the left and wards C-D to the right. A and B, and C and D, are connected by 4-story enclosed bridges. B and C are connected by only a ground bridge. The bridges were built in early 1966 after the 106th General Hospital arrived in December 1965 and started operations.

The pathology laboratory occupied the small building close to B between B and C. The radiology lab was in the corresponding building close to D between D and the enlisted men's barracks (the 4-story barracks to the far right). The chimney in the lower left marks the power plant and incinerator. To the lower left of the chimney is the swimming pool.

The large long building in the lower right is the Non-Commissioned Officers Club. The smaller buildings to the right of the NCO Club are the operating and recovery rooms. Central Material Supply (not shown in photograph) is to the right of the OR building. The OR and CMS buildings, and the covered walkways connecting them and the NCO Club with the wards, were built in 1966 after the arrival of the 106th General Hospital. Until then, OR and CMS were in C.

Kishine Geography

"Kishine Barracks" (Kishine barakku 岸根バラック, Kishine heisha 岸根兵舎) takes its name from the neighborhood in Yokohama where the barracks were located. "Kishine kyanpu" (岸根キャンプ "Kishine camp") or "Kishine kichi" (岸根基地 "Kishine base"), as it is also called in Japanese, occupied the southernmost part of Kishine-chō (岸根町) in the southern part of Yokohama's Kōhoku ward (港北区), which as its name implies is "north (kita, hoku 北) of the port (minato, kō 港) that defines Yokohama city (Yokohama-shi 横浜市).

Meaning of "chō"

As a municipal classification, "chō" (町) means "town" -- an administrative entity smaller than a "city" (shi 市) and larger than a "village" (mura 村). Some large metropolises, such as Yokohama city, are divided into "wards" (ku 区), which are increasing called cities in English, although as cities within cities they are more like boroughs. Such municipalities (ku-shi-chō-son 区市町村) constitute the local governments that make up Japan's prefectures (to-dō-fu-ken 都道府県).

As used in Kishine-chō, however, "chō" is the most common suffix in Japanese for what in English would be called a neighborhood or area if not a district, quarter, or even block. Historically, "chō" was a unit of area of land or of distance. But it also came to be used to denote a locality consisting of fields and other cultivated and inhabited lands and related woods and waterways. The name of a locality, whether or not it is suffixed with "chō" (or "machi" as 町 is also read), often reflects the locality's geography or history, though at times the etymology of the name may be not be clear.

Neighborhood associations

Local communities within municipalities, whether or not their names end in "chō", will probably have a "neighborhood association" (chōnaikai 町内会 "association within the chō"), which deal with matters of local interest. Most associations have by-laws, go through the motions of self-government, and liaison with the municipal government having jurisdiction over the neighborhood.

Their activities center on keeping residential areas clean and safe, preventing fires, and preparing for natural disasters and calamities. They cooperate with local police, fire departments, health departments, and school. Most collect a very nominal dues to cover stationery and other out-of-pocket costs. Some earn money through local events. They may also earn money from recycling activities they facilitate on behalf of waste collection companies.

Neighborhood association officers are generally volunteers. Membership and participation is also in principle voluntary, though most people feel compelled to at least pay dues and participate in the door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor circulation of association bulletins and other information.

In the past, neighborhood associations, especially those in small villages, were commonly involved in local marriages and funerals, but today their involvement, if any, is limited to mutual help. Under the policing system in Imperial Japan, before the reforms that were made after the Pacific War, neighborhood associations were instrumental in anti-subversive and other surveillance activities that today would be considered invasions of privacy and snooping for the state.


Kishine-chō squats on a mere 182,000 tsubo (0.602 square kilometers, 0.2324 square miles, 148.8 acres) of land averaging 5 meters (16 feet) above see level. It's population as of 2012 was 1,875 people.

Kishine Barracks occupied about 51,000 tsubo (0.1686 square kilometers, 0.0651 square miles, 41.66 acres) or roughly 28 percent of the area of Kishine-chō.

Land, lot, building, and room measurements

Japan generally uses the metric system often along with traditional units. Today, the areas of large tracts of land, such as fields or villages or other neighborhoods, are generally specified in hectares (10,000 square meters) or square kilometers (1,000,000 square meters), but "tsubo" (坪) -- as I have used it here -- is also sometimes used. The size of a lot and the floor space of a building are usually specified in both square meters and tsubo.

The area of 1 tsubo is equivalent to 1x1 ken or 1 square ken, hence 2 jō A "ken" (間) is roughly 182 centimeters (6 feet), so 1 tsubo is about 3.31 square meters (36 square feet). A "jō" (畳) is the area of a standard tatami mat, hence 1/2x1 ken or 1/2 tsubo, thus 91x182 centimeters (1.65 sq m) or 3x6 ft (18 sq ft). A ken is the most widely used unit of modularity in home and building design.

While areas of lots and building footprints are usually specified in square meters or tsubo, areas of rooms are most commonly given in mats or jō, even if the room has a wooden or concrete floor. The three most common sizes of rooms in homes are 4.5 mats (4.5 jō, 9x9 ft, 81 sq ft), 6 mats (6 jō, 9x12 ft, 108 sq ft), and 8 mats (8 jō, 12x12 ft, 144 sq ft). 3-, 10-, 12-, and 15-mat rooms are less common. Larger and even smaller spaces are defined in "mat" or "jō" units. Closets, toilets, washrooms, and baths, for example, may be 1/2, 1, or 2 mats.

Surrounding streets

The roads that bound the east, south, and west sides of Kishine Barracks mark the boundaries between Kishine-chō and neighboring Shinohara-chō (篠原町) to the east, Rokkakubashi (六角橋) to the south, and Sanmai-chō (三枚町) to the west. Suidō-michi (水道道) -- the street that climbed to the main gate from its intersection with Route 12 at the bottom of the hill -- marks the boundary between Kōhoku ward (Kōhoku-ku 港北区), which includes Kishine, Shinohara, and Sanmai -- and Kanagawa ward (Kanagawa-ku 神奈川区), which includes Rokkakubashi. Route 12 -- the larger street at the bottom of the hill, that ran along the east side of camp -- marks the boundary between Kishine and Shinohara north of its intersection with Suidō-michi. South of the intersection, it runs through Kanagawa wardto Higashi Kanagawa station near the waterfront.


Rokkakubashi -- formally Rokukakubashi -- begins immediately across Suidō-michi from the entrance side of Kishine Barracks, now Kishine Park. At the bottom of the hill, going to left (east) down Suidō-michi, is the intersection with Route 12. Going to right (south) down Route 12, toward Higashi Hakuraku station and beyond that Higashi Kanagawa station, about halfway you reach the Rokkakubashi intersection. From there a narrow shopping street takes off to the left (east) towards the Yokohama Rokkakubashi Post Office and Hakuraku station. At the entrance to this street, and at intervals along the street, are arches announcing its name -- Rokkakubashi Shōtengai (六角橋商店街) or "Rokkakubashi shopping street" -- as shown on the photograph to the right, which I took in 1966.

During the Occupation of Japan, this street was home to a black market. It still has the stripes of an older commercial-cum-entertainment district of the kind that can be found in practically all congested mixed residential-business districts in Japan -- usually but not always near train stations, which are the hubs of many local communities. Hakuraku station, one of the older stations in the area, was such a station. The location of the post office just off the street, halfway between the intersection on Route 12 and Hakuraku station, is also a vestige of the centrality of the area in older times. The area is a buffer zone between Rokkakubashi and Hakuraku, as the names of buildings and other facilities in the area suggest.

Kishine's ruralness

Kishine-chō is still green, but not nearly as green as it was when it was home to Kishine Barracks. And it was greener when the barracks began to be constructed in 1955 than it was when the facility was returned to Yokohama in 1972.

The area that was occupied by Kishine Barracks is now part of a city park. The park's greenery is that of a landscaped and groomed public facility. Most of the open spaces that characterized the surrounding areas in the past -- the rice paddies, vegetable fields, and small woods -- and older homes, some with thatched roofs and hedges in village-like settings -- are gone. Practically no single-story bungalows survive. Most older 2-story wooden structures have been replaced by newer 2-story and 3-story buildings.

In the 1950s and 1960s, a few -- but not many -- 4-story buildings could be seen in the vicinity between Kishine Barracks and the waterfront. Today even 5-, 6-, and 7-story ferro-concrete apartments, condominiums, and office buildings can be seen along the main streets and larger side streets. But on the whole, there are not many high-rise buildings in the area.

Kishine's modernness

In some sense, Kishine Barracks was ahead of its time. 4-story and 5-story apartment blocks, called "danchi" (団地), some of them as large as the 4-story barracks at Kishine, were then coming into vogue in Japan's suburbs. Like Kishine's 4-story barracks, most 4- and 5-story danchi had no elevators.

By spring or so of 1966, however, the barracks at Kishine that were converted into hospital wards were connected by passageways. Buildings A and B, and buildings C and D, were connected by 4-story enclosed passageways that had an elevator midway between the buildings. Only the ground floors of B and C were connected by a passageway.

The exterior walls of the buildings had to be knocked out where the passageways connected with the buildings, but no structural elements of the buildings were effected.

Blue Line subway

The segment of the Blue Line subway line that runs between Yokohama and Shin-Yokohama stations cuts directly under the Kishine Park. Completed in 1985, one of its stations -- Kishine Kōen eki (岸根公園駅 "Kishine Park station") -- is immediately under the northeast corner of the park and exits by Shinohara Pond (Shinohara-ike 篠原池).

Geographically, the area on that side of the park was a narrow and shallow valley of the kind that was ideal for the construction of rice paddies that could be flooded with water from a creek or spring in the valley. Shinohara pond had been a reservoir of spring water that was used to irrigate paddies in the area. It also supplied water to farms in the Shinohara-chō area toward Shin-Yokohama, east of Kishine-chō.

Kishine-chō's ruralness was still very picturesque at the time I was there in in 1966. Its relative distance from the heart of Yokohama, however, was instrumental in its nomination as a site for Kishine Barracks. Its openness made it vulnerable to the politics of the more urban parts of Yokohama, large swathes of which were requisitioned by U.S. Forces during the Allied Occupation of Japan.


Kishine up to the China and Pacific Wars (1868-1937)

During the Tokugawa period, which ended in 1868, Kanagawa (神奈川) was part of Musashi province (Musashi-no-kuni 武蔵国). It included Yokohama village and other port towns in the cusp of what is now Yokohama bay, and was overseen by a magistrate (bugyō 奉行).

Kishine was then Kishinone village (Kishi-no-ne-mura 岸之根村) in the Tachibana district (Tachibana-no-koori 橘樹郡) of Kanagawa. In 1871, when the provinces were prefecturized -- some become prefectures, others were broken up or merged into prefectures -- Kanagawa became a prefecture. At this time, "Kishi-no-ne" -- meaning "the root of a bank" as in the origin or base of the shore of a waterway -- became simply "Kishine" or "bank root" village in Tachibana county (Tachibana-gun 橘樹郡). In the process of prefecturizing the provinces, the graph 群, meaning "district" or "county", came to be read "gun" in Sino-Japanese rather than "koori" in Yamato.


Note the similarity between "Kishine" (岸根) and "Negishi" (根岸), a better-known Yokohama neighborhood, south of the waterfront. Unlike "kishine", "negishi" is an established expression that is used in some localities to refer to land along the foot of a mountain or hill -- which in fact characterizes the flatter part of Negishi between the bay and the hills in the neighborhood.

During the Occupation of Japan, U.S. Forces requisitioned much of the land in the Negishi area, as they did large swaths of land adjacent to the waterfront centering on the Port of Yokohama. Most 106th General Hospital personnel became acquainted the Navy Exchange and other facilities in Negishi. Some lived in U.S. Naval housing in the area.

From village in county to neighborhood in city ward

In 1889 Kishine and several other villages were merged into Kozukue village (Kozukue-mura 小机村) in Tachibana county, and in 1902 Kozukue village was renamed Shirosato village (城郷村). The village was integrated into Yokohama city as part of Kanagawa ward in 1927. As a result of its affiliation with Kanagawa ward, Shirasato's village appellation, and its affiliation with Tachibana county, ended. Then in 1939, the three most northern components of what had been Shirosato village were separated from Kanagawa ward into a new ward -- Kōhoku -- as Kozukue, Toriyama, and Kishine neighborhoods (chō 町).

Municipal mergers

Many kinds of mergers are possible. Villages may be merged into other villages, or into cities, or become towns, and towns may be merged into cities, or become cities. among other examples. Cities may also grow to the point that they are subdivided into wards. Upgrading from village to town, and town to city, and breaking up into wards, is usually a usually based on population. Mergers are usually motivated by a desire to create larger communities that pool the resources of smaller communities.

Prefectures are divided into cities including wards, and counties which consist of towns and villages. All towns and villages are therefore associated with a county, while all cities are separate entities. Cities (and wards as cities within cities) are considered more urban than counties. Villages that are merged into cities, and towns that are merged into cities or become cities, are separated from the county.


Kishine is thus an example of a village that was merged into another village, which was later merged into a city. As such it is also an example of how sprawling metropolises like Yokohama come to include semi-rural or rural areas within their urban perimeters. Or, to put it differently, Kishine is an example of urbanization.

As soon as smaller municipalities are merged into or absorbed by larger ones, they become subject to the sort of urban planning that incorporates them into the urban road and railway, including subway, systems. The stretch between Kishine and Shin-Yokohama station on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) line out of Tokyo, which included lots of open space in the 1960s, is now practically all built up, and roads not then paved are now paved and otherwise improved to accommodate a level of automobile traffic that was unimaginable in the 1960s, when not that many people had cars.

Kishine-chō during the 1930s

Hirai Seiji (平井誠二), the director of research at the Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture (Ōkura Seishin Bunka Kenkyūjo 大倉精神文化研究所) in Yokohama, is among the handful of people who have published histories of Kishine on the Internet. In the following newsletter, written in August 2011, he presented one of the most ambitious summaries I have seen of the history of Kishine Park from the 1930s to the present.

Shiriizu Wagamachi Kōhoku
Dai 15 kai, Heisei 23-nen 8-gatsu gō genkō
Shūsen hiwa, Sono 14
Kishine Kōen no sesshū
シリーズ わがまち港北
Series Our town Kōhoku
No. 152, August 2011 manuscript
Secret history of end of war, Part 14
Requisition of Kishine Park

The following paragraph is a paraphase of what Hirai wrote regarding Kishine during the 1930s, before World War II. His report contains the usual variations in figures and dates that one finds in oral and written accounts. Some of Hirai's details I have no choice but to accept at face value since I have not seen independent accounts of the same events. Other details I modified in accordance with more accurate independent accounts. For example, he had written 1941 rather than 1940 as the date of the Olympic Games. He also stated that the 106th General Hospital arrived at Kishine Barracks in December 1966, though in fact it came in December 1965.

Sometime during the 1930s -- [apparently after Tokyo was designated the site of the 1940 Olympic Games, and before Japan forfeited its nomination in mid 1938] -- the city of Yokohama bought about 14.3 hectares [43,000 tsubo, 35 acres] of private land, on which to build a public park that could also be used as an air-defense park. The city planned to construct a general athletic field, anticipating the 1940 celebration of the 2,600th year of the founding of Japan by Emperor Jinmu in 600 BC, and the 1940 Olympic Games in Tokyo.


Kishine during China and Pacific Wars (1937-1945)

Before looking at wartime develops in Kishine, I would like to summarize the build-up of hostilities in East Asia, and the deterioration of Japan's relationships with United States and European powers.

Japan in the 1930s and early 1940s

In 1931, in Manchuria, Japan initiated military actions it considered essential to bring order to what Japan regarded as a practically lawless territory which China claimed but was unable to control. The following year, Japan helped establish Manchoukuo as an independent state. The League of Nations, however censured Japan's actions in Manchuria, and considered Manchoukuo a puppet state. Japan was so alienated by this criticism that it withdrew from the League in 1933.

Despite the widespread displeasure on the part of the United States and major European powers with Japan's actions in Manchuria and its withdrawal from the League of Nations, in 1936 the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1940 Olympic Games to Tokyo. 1940 also marked the 2600th anniversary of the legendary founding of the Empire of Japan by Emperor Jinmu in 600 BC.

The China War (1937-1945)

As of late 1936 and early 1937, the Imperial Japan was considering ways of celebrating the two 1940 events. Then in 1937, after an incident involving Chinese troops and a Japanese garrison outside Peiping, in northern Japan, Japan invaded and occupied a number of parts of China, including Shanghai, and then Nanjing and other lower Yangtze river cities in the south. Japan's rationale, again, was to impose order on what it considered to be an irresponsible government.

The conflict in China escalated in 1938 to the point that the government of China, including its president, Chiang Kai-shek, who also commanded China's military forces, went took refuge in the western provinces of China. By 1938, Japan -- which had already started mobilizing all of its industrial and human resources for a long engagement in China -- unilaterally announced that it would not be able to host the 1940 Olympic Games.

Entrance The Honolulu Advertiser, 2 December 1941
The winds of war 5 days before Pearl Harbor
The Pacific War (1941-1945)

Then in 1939, war broke out in Europe. In the fall of 1940 Japan signed a pact with Germany and Italy, thus supporting these two states in their war against the Allied Powers in Europe and Northern Africa. And in the spring of 1941, already facing American, British, and Dutch naval blockades in support of China's exiled government, and American economic sanctions, Japan signed a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union, an Allied Power in the European war. By that time, Japan was planning the attacks it would make in December 1941 on Pearl Harbor, and on American, British, and Dutch territories in Southeast Asia.

China's government in exile joined the United States in its declaration of war against Japan immediately the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. And in early 1942 the United Nations, better known as the Allied Powers, declared total war against Japan, Germany, and Italy, thereby extending World War II to East Asia and the Pacific.

China and the Pacific War

Japan, in its eyes, was never at war with China. Chiang's government joined the United States in its declaration of war against Japan the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. But Japan had stopped recognizing Chiang's government and turned to rivals who had not joined him in exile. In 1940, one such rival, Wang Jinwei, installed a new government that was willing to cooperate with Japan's mission of reforming China. And Wang's government declared war on the Allied Powers in 1943.

However, under the terms of surrender it signed in 1945, Japan accepted the terms of the 1945 Potsdam Declaration, which embedded the terms of the 1943 Cairo Declaration, both of which were signed by featured Chiang, representing China as a major power in the United Nations (i.e., Allied Powers) war against Japan. Japan thus had to accept Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist government as the legitimate government of China. And in 1952 Japan signed a peace treaty with the Republic of China. In the meantime, Chiang's government prosecuted many and executed some Chinese who had, in its opinion, committed treason by "collaborating" with Japan.

The impact of World War II on Kishine

What, against the background of this international drama, was happening in Kishine-chō?

World War II -- according to Hirai Seiji (op cit., Hirai 2011) -- forced Yokohama to discontinue its park plans. Instead, part of the area set aside for the park became the site of anti-aircraft guns (kōshahō 高射砲). The flak station consisted of 7 guns, which were located in the vicinity of the Boys Baseball Field (Shōnen yakyūjō 少年野球場) and the West Square (Nishi hiroba 西広場) in the extreme northwest corner of today's Kishine Park (Kishine kōen 岸根公園). This land, just north of the chapel at Kishine Barracks, was not part of the U.S. Army facility. Hirai added that the land now occupied by Kishine Nursery School, immediately north of the anti-aircraft guns, was the site of 2 or 3 twin-anti-aircraft batteries, and that north of them were two radars.

In other words, the anti-aircraft facilities were concentrated on a strip of land on the Kishine side of the road that marks the border between Kishine-chō and Sanmai-chō -- the road that ran along the fence immediately to the west of the barracks that became the wards of the 106th General Hospital. When I was there in 1966, the road was unpaved. I may have walked down it. I frankly can't remember. I didn't do much snooping around the neighborhood. I now wish I had done more.


Kishine during the Allied Occupation (1945-1952)

Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers in 1945, after which practically all of its prefectural Interior was occupied by Allied military forces and subjected to the authority of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), beginning and practically ending with General Douglas MacArthur. Though formally an Allied Occupation, by the time war broke out on the Korean peninsula in 1950, the Occupation was dominated by American military officers and civilians at SCAP's General Headquarters in Tokyo.

When the United Nations agreed to support the Republic of Korea in the south against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the North, MacArthur was appointed the commander of U.N. Forces in Korea, which of course included U.S. Forces, most of them deployed from Japan. In 1951, however, he was dismissed, and his replacement oversaw the last year of the Allied Occupation, which ended when the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect in 1952.

Anti-aircraft facilities at Kishine

Sometime during the Occupation of Japan, the Imperial Army anti-aircraft facilities in Kishine-chō were dismantled. I have no idea when or by whom. Most likely, as soon as physically possible after their arrival in Japan, a U.S. Army demobilization unit confiscated whatever munitions remained, rendered the guns inoperational, and ordered their removal and recyling as scrap.

Requisitions in Yokohama

Numerous areas in the heart of Yokohama and throughout Kanagawa prefectures were requisioned by U.S. Forces. Former Imperial Army and Navy military bases were of course taken over by Allied Forces, but many privately owned buildings and land were requisioned for use by Occupation Forces, including civilian officials, and the civilian dependants of military personnel. Several large tracts of land in the heart of Yokohama, along the waterfront, were sites for the building of military barracks and dependant housing and all manner of facilities, including air strips, motor pools, supply depots, and hospitals and schools. Much of Yokohama had been totally destroyed by air raids, but some waterfront and other facilities had been largely spared, in anticipation of their postwar use.

Kishine requisitions

The city of Yokohama has published a number of reports on requisitions (sesshū 接収) and releases (kaijo 解除) of Japanese properties by U.S. Forces in Japan, both during the Occupation of Japan under the authority of GHQ/SCAP, and after the Occupation under provisions of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty. These reports show the following dates for Kishine-chō property (my titles and translations).

Kishine-chō property requisitioned and released by U.S. Army
during Occupation of Japan, 2 Sep 1945 - 28 Apr 1952, and later
Name of U.S. Army facility
Location (Building, facility)
Requsition yr-mo-dy
Release yr-mo-dy
Anti-aircraft position [station]
Kishine-chō (Kishine Park)
1 April 1951
22 December 1955 - 29 March 1966
Kishine Barracks / 106th General Hospital
Kishine-chō (Kishine Park)
12 April 1955
25 August 1972

Source占領下の米軍施設 (Senrō-ka no Beigun shisetsu ) [U.S. Army facilities during Occupation], Parts 1 and 2, 横浜市史資料室 (Yokohama-shi-shi shiryō shitsu) [Yokohama city history resources room], undated.

The received data states that the location of the anti-aircraft station was requistioned on 1 April 1951. April 1 corresponds to the start of Japan's fiscal year. 1951 marked the height of the Korean War in terms of the reversal of MacArthur's earlier successes and his dismissal for stepping beyond his authority.

I have shown the above information as received. The anti-aircraft station is listed along with Kishine Barracks as though it too were a U.S. Army facility. However, some Internet sources conveying remarks by local informants suggest that the station was an SDF operation (see more about this below).

U.S. Forces responsible for Japan's defense

Shortly after the start of the Korean conflict in 1950, the Allied Powers -- having refused to permit Japan to maintain its own military forces -- authorized the creation of a military-like National Police Reserve in 1950. This evolved into the Self-Defense Forces in 1954, after the Occupation, when Japan was free to create its own defense policy, mindful of the 1947 Constitution, Article 9 of which (1) "forever renounce[s] war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes, and (2) provides that, to this end, "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained" and that "The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

The Japanese government today maintains significant land, sea, and air forces, which train and exercise with their American counterparts under a considerably more elaborate mutual security arrangment. As all critics of Japan's build-up of military forces argue, Japan is obviously interpreting Article 9 to mean other than what it appears to mean. This be what it may, the United States is still, today, committed to come to Japan's defense.

I say "still" because, in 1951, a year before Japan regained its sovereignty and independence, Allied Occupation Forces -- in particuarly U.S. Forces -- were totally responsible for Japan's defense. So it is entirely possible that the GHQ/SCAP felt the need to build contingencies against the possibility of rouge air attacks from a belligerent country -- namely the Soviet Union, which was providing air support for the People's Liberation Army and the Chosŏ People's Army against United Nations Forces in Korea, and had the capability of attacking U.S. military bases in Japan. This is all material for an alternative history of the hottest of the hot wars that the United States fought during the cold war -- not withstanding the Vietnam War.

Defense measures taken in Yokohama

Ishimaru Yasuzo, in "The Korean War and Japanese Ports: Support for the UN Forces and Its Influences" (NIDS [The National Institute for Defense Studies, Ministry of Defense] Security Reports, No. 8, December 2007, pages 55-70), makes these interesting observations concerning (1) the takeover and return of properties in Yokohama, which became the most important staging area for the support both U.S. Forces and other U.N. Forces in Korea, and (2) the U.S. 8th Army's response to the threats that the Korean conflict posed for Japan's defense (pages 60-62).

(1) Yokohama Port

Yokohama Port, developed as the central station of Japan, had many of its port facilities requisitioned by the occupation forces following the end of World War II. Its return to Japan was significantly delayed due to the outbreak of the Korean War, resulting in its complete paralysis as a commercial port. Although the numbers of takeovers in Yokohama City showed an upward trend until 1951, with the conclusion of the peace treaty, they were gradually returned to Japan from 1952 onward, reducing the occupied area.

[ Omission ]

Possibilities of attacks by North Korean Forces could not be denied even in Yokohama which was located far away from the Korean Peninsula. In October 1950, in preparation for air defense and disaster planning, the JLC [Japan Logistical Command, established on 25 August 1950] requisitioned parks in Negishi, Koyasudai, Okamura and Hanamidai where they established anti-aircraft artillery positions.

Japan Self-Defense Forces unit at Kishine

My own recollection is that, when arriving at Kishine Barracks with the 106th General Hospital in December 1965, we were told that there was a small SDF facility beside Kishine Barracks. I have no visual memory of it, but my memories of a number of experiences at Kishine Barracks, especially brief encounters that had no relation to my on-base work and off-base interests, are dim.

Patrick Metoyer, a member of the original party who became a friend, reported the following memory to me (email, 27 March 2016).

One memory I have retained is an early one. Periodically. we would interact with the Japanese Self-defense Forces personnel next to our hospital. I remember exchanging -- or giving away -- our silver coins. Sure would like to have some of those back.

Regarding the Self-Defense Forces component at Kishine, my impression is that the U.S. Army, having taken over the anti-aircraft batteries that the Japanese Imperial Army had situated at Kishine, built an anti-aircraft facility on the same site in 1951, during the Korean War, then released the facility to Japan during the demobilization of United Nations Forces that followed the Armistice in Korea in 1953. The demobilization of U.S. Forces in Japan was part of the background that led Japan to establish the Ground Self-Defense Forces in 1954 and allow the U.S. Army to build Kishine Barracks in 1955 and 1956.

It appears that Japan began to phase out the anti-aircraft facility in December 1955, some 8 months after the U.S. Army is said to have requisitioned the adjacent land for Kishine Barracks, the construction of which began the same year. The flak station was of course gone by the end of March 1966 when the land it had occupied was returned to Yokohama. The guns and related structures may already have been dismantled and removed by the time the 106th General Hospital arrived in December 1965. I don't recall seeing them -- but neither did I go out of my way to observe the SDF facilities.

Kishine-cho sub-camp

The Self-Defence Forces (SDF) unit at Kishine was called "Kishine-chō sub-camp" (Kishine-chō buntonchi 岸根町分屯地). The sub-camp was part of the Japan Ground Self-Defence Forces (JGSDF) Camp Yokohama (Yokohama tonchi 横浜屯地). It was by, not in, Kishine Barracks, which was a U.S. Army facility.

The sub-camp was established in 1955 and closed in 1966. It originated in 20-22 December 1955 when The U.S. Army returned the anti-aircraft station (kōshahō jinchi 高射砲陣地) it had maintained on the site after taking over the anti-aircraft batteries that had been esbalished there by the Imperial Japanese Army. The municipal property was then leased to SDF. It was closed on 29 March 1966 consequential to the development of ground-to-air missles (chi-tai-kū misairu 地対空ミサイル). See 岸根町分屯地 (Japanese Wikipedia article) for Yokohama city history (2000) and GSDF chronology (1971) sources.

The U.S. Army took over the Kishine anti-aircraft station site on 1 April 1951. The site was released on 22 December 1955 and closed on 29 March 1966 according to a Yokohama report on U.S. military facilities in the city during the Occupation (pdf file).


Building A Building F of "R&R Hotel" at Kishine Barracks
Later Ward A (C?) of 106th General Hospital
Taken February 1962 by Jim Szabo while on R&R from Korea
Note on back dates Kishine stay "Feb. 19 - March 1, 1962"
Enhanced copy which Szabo posted on Webshots
Szabo stayed on the 3rd floor
Headquarters Jim Szabo standing near Kishine Barracks Headquarters
Taken February 1962 by friend of Jim Szabo during R&R from Korea
Flag poles fly Japanese, American, and United Nations flags
Front gate, movie theater and gymnasium to the right
Baseball field in the far background

United Nations flag at Kishine

My identification of the 3rd flag in Jim Szabo's photo as a UN flag
is based on photographs and personal testimony regarding UN flags
at other US military bases in Japan that host United Nations Command (Rear)
units under provisions of the Japan-UNC Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
The agreement permits UNC-R sending states to operate units in Japan
during the armistice conditions on the Korean peninsula. In the event of
hostilities, UNC-R units in Japan would facilitate the movement of
personnel from allied UN states through Japan to Korea.

Kishine after the Occupation

Many descriptions of the origin of Kishine Barracks, in Japanese as well as in English, are misleading or incorrect. Contrary to the most common genesis stories, Kishine Barracks was not built (1) during the Korean War or because of the war, or (2) as a R&R (Rest and Recreation) facility.

The barracks were authorized, when their construction was budgeted in 1954, as a way to consolidate a number of military camps and other facilities in the heart of Yokohama, to a single location on the outskirts of the city, in order to expedite the return of land the Allied Powers, in particularly the United States, had requisitioned for their use. Kishine was slated to absorb the remnants of the following military facilties.

Camp McNelly
Bund Hotel Officer Quarters
Yokohama M.P. Headquarters
Camp Coe
Other small facilities

Kishine Barracks is variously known in Japanese as Kishine barakku (バラック "barracks"), Kishine heisha (兵舎 "soldiers quarters"), Kishine kyampu (キャンプ "camp"), and Kishine kichi (基地 "base"). Yokohama formally made the land available to U.S. Forces in Japan on 12 April 1955, and the lad was formally returned to Yokohama on 25 August 1972. The land was originally used to consolidate, in a more rural part of Yokohama, a number of billets and other facilities that, during the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945-1952) and the Korean War (1950-1953) and for a number of years afterward, had been located in various parts of Yokohama's commercial neighborhoods.

The Korean War concluded in an armistice, and some combat units were pulled out of Korea, but Japan continued to be a potential staging area in the event that the truce on the peninsula failed. By the late 1950s, however, many U.S. military units that had been based in Japan were withdrawn or deactivated, and the United States began to return some bases and other facilities to Japan.

15 March 1957 Bugetary Committee meeting

At the 18th Meeting of the Bugetary Committee of the 26th Session of the Diet, convened in the afternoon of 15 March 1957, committee members, including the Minister of Defense, discussed the plans to relocate a number of U.S. military units from the center to the outskirts of Yokohama, namely to Kishine. The gist of the problem was that about 1.3 billion yen was allocated in the 1954 budget for the relocation, but construction had made little progress on account of considerable opposition from local residents, farmers, citizens, workers, youth, and women. Some 0.16 billion yen had been paid in advance, which raised the problem of overpayment.

Moreover, regarding Camp Coe, the first facility scheduled to be moved, and 4 other facilties, they are not being moved to Kishine, which at present is not close to completion, but are moving to other places. So why are we continuing to construct the barracks, ignoring the opposition of so many people, the people of Japan, when the original plans have changed, and we don't know how they are going to be used?

31 August 1960 Cabinet Committee meeting

The disposition of Kishine Barracks came up at the meeting of the 3rd session of the Cabinet Committee of the 35th Diet, convened on the afternoon of 31 August 1960 in Tokyo. A committee member observed that Yokohama citizens had been opposing the base called Kishine in Yokohama for the past 3 years. He added that Kishine was actually more a dormitory than a base.

An official in the Ministry of Defense reported that Kishine Barracks had been built about three years ago to open up -- i.e., consolidate -- several billets and other facilities around Yokohama, and so American troops had been stationed there. However, during the past year or two, combat troops have been withdrawn, and so fewer troops were permantly stationed there. However, the official pointed out, in February last year Kishine had been designated for use as a United Nations facility, and so it was also being used by UN troops enroute to and from Chosen (Chōsen 朝鮮). The official did not have specific data at hand, but felt it would be difficult to obtain the return of Kishine Barracks at that time.

Therein lies the problem, the committee member who raised the issue asserted. The Kishine facility was built on Yokohama city land, which the city had acquired from its owners. The city permitted its use by the United States in order to relocate U.S. military facilities that had been scattered in the heart of the city's commercial area. Kishine was thus intended for use by American troops. If it is no longer needed for American troops, then it ought to be returned to Yokohama. Its use by UN troops was not part of the deal. The government of Japan should make different arrangements for UN troops. Yokohama needs the money it spends to subsidize Kishine for schools and hospitals.

"Chosen" (Chōsen 朝鮮) refers to what most speakers of English would call "Korea" meaning "South Korea" or the "Republic of Korea" (ROK), which in Japanese is "Kankoku" (韓国). Japan and ROK did not sign a basic treaty establishing normal diplomatic relations until 1965. In fact, the treaty was ratified in December, the very month the 106th General Hospital arrived at Kishine Barracks. Until then, most Japanese referred to the peninsula as Chosen, its name as part of Japan from 1910 to 1945 (acceptance of Potsdam Declaration) and 1952 (effectuation of San Francisco Peace Treaty). As of this writing in 2015, Japan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) continue to be diplomatically estranged. Most Japanese call the northern regime "North Chosen" (Kita Chōsen 北朝鮮) -- a legacy geographical rather than contemporary political name for the northern part of the peninsula.

Camp Coe and MASH

Camp Coe sprawled out in a neighborhood parallel to the main street of Isezakichō. The camp billited many personnel, men and women, who commuted to assignments at other facilities. Men especially found the location convenient, the Isezakichō's side streets were lined with bars, cabarets, and hotels that catered to foreign merchant seaman and military personnel.

When war broke out in Korea on 25 June 1950, top priority was given to mobilizing and deploying medical units in Japan. Camp Coe became a staging area for the creation and deployment of many Army units to the peninsula, including 3 new MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) units created under the command of the 8th Army and the Yokohama Medical Depot, hence their numbers -- the 8055th, the 8063rd, and the 8076th. The units were activated on respecively 1, 7, and 17 July - all within a month of the start of the war.

The 8055th sailed on 6 [or 8] July from Sasebo to Pusan, and immediately began supporting the 24th Infantry Division, which had been forced to retreat south to a perimeter around Pusan. This first MASH unit inspired Mash the novel (1968), in which the 8055th is fictionalized as the 4077th. The novel inspired the film (1970), and the film inspired the TV drama (1972-1983).


106th General Hospital Aerial photograph of Kishine Barracks from southeast
Undated and unattributed color photograph copped from
FO A-Battery, 3rd Battalion, 319th Artillery
"Forward Observer on Hill 1338"
2/503d VIETNAM Newsletter
22 June 2011, Issue 29, page 65
See Tenney (1967) below for particulars

Kishine during the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War (1964-1975) embroiled more than one generation of Americans and others in military and civilian operations supporting the essentially American cause in opposing the spread of communist regimes in Southeast Asia. I was stationed with the 561st Ambulance Company at Fort Ord when the Tonkin Gulf incident in early August 1964 was reported in news media. The Congressional Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 7 August gave President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to order U.S. military support of any Southeast Asian government that appeared to be endangered by communist aggression. Over a decade after red-scare McCarthy era that coincided with the communist revolution in China in the late 1940s, and the Korean War in the early 1950s (1950-1953), the fear of communist takeovers of East and Southeast Asian governments was will strong.

The 1954 communist victory in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) against France's efforts to reinstate its former colonial control over the region was followed by American support for the nominally non-communist regime of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), never mind how corrupt and dictatorial it was. By the Tonkin Gulf Incident, there were already quite a few American military and civilian advisers in South Vietnam, and some had been killed by Viet Cong forces operating in South Vietnam with the support of North Vietnam.

My knowledge of the geography of the region, and of its political history, were practically zero. By the beginning of 1965, when I was sent to Fort Baker for training as a medical laboratory technician, I was reading books on the history of Vietnam, and quickly coming to the conclusion that the United States was in for another Korean War or worse. In my reading, I also gained an understanding, which I had never had before, of the dynamics of the failure of America's support of the Republic of China against the People's Liberation Army that forced ROC to take refuge on Taiwan in 1949, and the strategic failures of the U.S.-led United Nations Forces in Korea.

I quickly became a very cynical and pacifist young man. It was not that I would have opposed a quick and successful action to repel the takeover of a functioning government by a truly evil force. I simply could not conclude that North Vietnam's regime was more evil than South Vietnam's regime. In fact, North Vietnam was founded through repelling France's attempt to regain colonial control over Vietnam. That made the government in Hanoi at least as legitimate as the government in Saigon.

I favored the idea of leaving what had all the appearances of a civil war -- partly territorial, partly ideological -- to the people of the country. They would get it over with in their own way. Outside interference would almost certainly double or quadruple the death and destruction, as it did in Korea, with no certainty of gaining more than a stalemate, as happened in Korea. In the end, would life under communists like Ho Chi Minh (胡志明 1890-1969) be worse than life under nationalists like Nyugen Van Thieu (阮文紹 1923-2001) and Nguyen Cao Ky (阮高祺 1930-2011)?

Many of the people I worked with in the 106th General Hospital at Kishine Barracks felt like this. Our hearts were there for the wounded, and we were prepared to do our very best to help them heal and recover. But our hearts weren't with the politicians who were calling the shots in Washington.


Kishine tower Click on image to enlarge
Kishine Barracks water tower, 1966
Before decoration as aviation beacon
photograph by Bill Wetherall

Water tower jumper

The most distinguishing landmark at Kishine Barracks was its water tower. The tower was one of the first objects of focus in the viewfinder of my first single-lens reflex Pentax Spotmatic I purchased in early 1966 a few weeks after arriving in Japan without the non-SLR 35mm camera I had been using since 1962 (see Photographic stories: Composing moments in life).

The tower not only boosted the pressure of a certain amount of water with roughly 25 meters of gravity, but served as a mast for radio antennas and a beacon for helicopters. Sometime after I shot the tower, helicopter ambulance flights sharply increased, and the tower was painted red and white in the manner of an airport beacon.

Towers, like bridges and cliffs, and window ledges, balconies, and rooftops, attract people with suicidal thoughts. And predictably, Kishine's water tower would eventually invite a despondent soldier to climb its ladder and consider his options in life from a higher vantage point.

A member of the original party that arrived with the 106th General Hospital in December 1965, who had worked in supply, told me the following story (email, 6 January 2005).

I think that there was an incident while you were still there at the 106th wherein a Spc5 from Surgery had to be talked down from the water tower to keep him from jumping. It seems he was dumped by a female 2nd Lt nurse.

The writer, who I probably knew of while at Kishine but didn't personally know and couldn't recall, added that he had later dated the nurse. I don't recall the incident, but a lot of things happened that I was not aware of. Or I knew about it at the time but have forgotten it. Or it may have happened shortly after I left.

More recently, a fellow pathology lab tech in the original party -- who of course I knew, worked with, and remembered -- shared the following comment (email, 29 July 2018).

Looked over the Kashine [sic] article for several hours last night, funny you mentioned the water tower incident. The night it happened, Jim Terry [pathology lab MC in charge of bacterioloy] and I were walking back to the lab after getting out of the movie and I saw something move in the sky, we were in the helicopter pad area. I looked up and this guy was on the water tower. With the movie just letting out there was a lot of people standing around, and people started yelling jump. I guess the COQ [Commanding Officer's Quarters] called Col. Reed and he came out. To make a long story short, he got the fire dept to bring a ladder truck out and he got on it and they lifted him up to the level where he was standing and he talked him down. Needless to say he was shipped back to the states. The nurse he was messing around went on her merry way, She wasn't much to look at and the guy was a medic, Hispanic I think.


Whitmore cover Construction of bridge connecting wards (A-B? C-D?)
1966 photograph by Jim Terry
Whitmore cover History of the U.S. Army Engineer District, Far East, 1957-1975
Copped from US Army Corps of Engineers Digital Library

Renovations and new construction at Kishine Barracks

When arriving at Kishine Barracks in December 1965, we had to set up the 106th General Hospital and get it operating in facilities that had not yet been renovated for hospital use. In other words, we set up the hospital using mainly the field equipment which had been shipped ahead. The only things that weren't shipped were the tents and other items that would have been needed only if we had set up in a cow pasture.

Renovations of the buildings, the construction of connecting passageways and elevators to permit the movement of non-ambulatory patients from floor to floor and building to building, would not be completed until late spring or early summer if my memory serves me correctly. A number of smaller buildings and other facilities were newly constructed to accommodate the hospital's growth.

The 4 barracks that were used for wards -- called A, B, C, and D -- underwent a lot of remodeling, inside and out, to accommodate the specific medical needs of the various kinds of wards. Ground and elevated passageways with elevators were constructed between A and B and between C and D, and a ground passageway was constructed between B and C.

The passageways and elevators enabled the movement of patients on gurneys between floors and buildings without having to carry patients or gurneys on stairs or expose patients to the elements. They were not completed until spring, however, so that first winter at Kishine was rough on both patients and medical personnel. Ambulatory patients could walk, but others had to be carried from floor to floor, and were exposed to the elements when moved on gurneys from building to building.

The passageways were built by Japanese construction crews under the supervision of a man who I gathered was an American civilian. He gave orders and otherwise spoke to the workers in fluent Japanese, which inspired me to doubt the rumors that Japanese was difficult. I once greeted him when passing the construction area between Buildings B and C. If I ever heard his name, I've forgotten it. He could have Jim Calhaun, the supervisor described in the following extract from the following publication.

Earl Whitmore
History of the United States Army Engineer District, Far East, 1957-1975
Seoul, Korea, 1976
164 pages

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District, was located in Seoul in the Republic of Korea. The following text is an OCR scan and edit of a jpg image I captured from a pdf file of the above book at Far East District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website (pages 50-52).

Whitmore photo Caption of photograph on page 51
FED Project Officer Jim Calhaun inspects the progress of work at
the Kishine Barracks phase of the hospital rehabilitation project

At the same time Project Running Light and the Kanto Plains System were being rushed through Design Branch, the Army presented its first crash program to the District: the military hospital rehabilitation. The requirement for beds to accommodate the sick and injured increased each month as the war in Vietnam escalated. USARPAC [U.S. Army Pacific] determined that rehabilitation of extant Army structures provided the most rapid and inexpensive method of gaining additional hospital spaces even though many of the buildings were old barracks and warehouses. The sites selected were Camps Oji, Tokorozawa, and Drake in greater Tokyo and Kishine Barracks in Yokohama.

In December 1965, FED [Far East District = United States Army Engineer District, Far East] assigned two A-E [architect-engineer firm] contracts to initiate the program: one to DMJM [Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall] for the rehabilitation at Kishine and Oji, and one to Adrian Wilson Associates for Tokorozawa. The District had the first increment of 1,000 beds ready for advertisement within 38 days, but a USARJ (US Army, Japan) revision forced an extensive redesign. Consequently, this contract was not awarded to Tekken Kensetsu Co. Ltd. until 28 June. In the meantime, by 4 January [1966], FED completed negotiations for the 1,200 bed complex at Kishine, and Hori Komuten Co. Ltd. set about construction. By October 1966, FED contractors had the surgical facility and recovery ward at Oji (ENG 1124, assigned to Tekken on 10 March 1966) finished but not yet occupied and the repair and alteration plan for the sixteen buildings at the 106th General Hospital complex at Kishine well underway. The 2,000 bed project at North Camp Drake was in its second month of progress. The DMJM-engineered Drake upgrade involved the refurbishing of twenty-one structures on the 249th General Hospital compound to provide barracks, hospital wards, and surgery, supply, x-ray, and dental facilities. Now utilities to support the Drake patient increase included rehabilitating two wells and building a 100,000 gallon water storage tank, sewage treatment plant, a million-BTU-per-hour boiler, and helipad. Local traffic congestion prevented the use of Japanese roads for incoming patients, making the helipad necessary.

By late summer 1966, FED had the second phase at Oji and the several thousand bed project at Tokorozawa ready for award. The CINCPAC [Commander in Chief, Pacific] and CINCUSARPAC [Commander in Chief, U.S. Army, Pacific], however, advised a suspension of further action because of a probable curtailment of the total hospital bed requirement; the funds authorized had already been cut from $8 million to $4.1 million. With the cancellation of the second increment at Oji and the entire project at Tokorozawa, the magnitude of design changes for the first phase at Oji and Drake increased radically. In the fall of 1966 alone, for example, there were 36 individual modifications at these two job sites. Subsequently, it was decided to add air conditioning to the rehabilitated structures. In less than four months, DMJM completed the plans and specifications, and work began at Kishine in August 1967 and at the other post in the following month. The 406th Medical Laboratory and the hospital at Sagami-Ono were added to the four air conditioning contracts which amounted to moore [sic] than $l.l million and brought the Army hospital rehabilitation project total to approximately $5.1 million. Despite delays in delivery and incorrect shipments of GFM [government-furnished material], the herculean efforts of Hitachi Constr. Co. Ltd., Tekken Kensetsu Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi, Kinki, Sanwa Denki Kogyo Co. Ltd., and District personnel resulted in temporary provisions to permit operation of all the air conditioning systems by late June 1968. With the completion of this program in 1969, the District demonstrated that it could launch a large project rapidly and still keep construction costs within reason. The average price per bed for the hospital upgrade was a low $2,822, and the expenditure per square foot of floor space, $5.95. FED also accomplished the task without closing any of the already functioning areas. [Note 18]

CINCPAC (Commander in Chief, Pacific) -- usually a Navy commander -- controls all U.S. military forces in the Pacific area and reports directly to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). CINCUSARPAC (Commander in Chief, U.S. Army, Pacific) reports to CINCPAC. USA

DMJM refers to Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall, described in the book as an "A-E firm" -- meaning a company that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracted to design or construct buildings and facilities. The Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD) at the University of Washington says in the part that the firm was established in 1946 as "one of the first combined architecture and engineering firms in the Western U.S . . . at a prosperous moment for architects in a booming section of the US [and] grew rapidly, becoming one of Southern CA's largest full-service design and engineering firms by the 1960s."

Both the 406th Medical Laboratory and the hospital at Sagami-Ono played significant roles in the operations of the pathology laboratory and burn center at the 106th General Hospital. See related reports elsewhere on this page.


Reversion Pacific Stars and Stripes
21 June 1972, page 7
Reversion Pacific Stars and Stripes
27 August 1972, page 7
Notice that the 21 June 1972 report announcing the forthcoming return of Kishine Barracks states that it converted to a hospital in 1967, while the 27 August 1972 article reporting that the facility had been returned gives the hospital conversion date as December 1966. These are typical examples of how the 106th General Hospital's December 1965 arrival at Kishine Barracks has been misreported.


The return of Kishine Barracks to Yokohama city on Friday 25 August 1972 (right) was not an isolated event . Many other properties that had been used by U.S. Forces in Japan were returned during the early 1970s.

The return of such properties, which had been either commandeered during the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945-1952), or leased from Japan or from local governments during or after the Occupation, underscored the decision by the United States to withdraw substantial forces from Vietnam and downsize the scale of support facilities in Japan. Peace talks had started in 1968, but the Paris Peace Accords would not be concluded until 27 January 1973. Direct U.S. involvement in principle ended by the end 1973, but some U.S. forces remained until the fall of Saigon (柴棍) on 30 April 1975, which resulted in the unification of Vietnam under the Hanoi (河內) government and the renaming of Saigon as Ho Chi Minh City (Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh 城舗胡志明).

So when the 106th General Hospital was closed in 1970, there were much fewer casualties than there had been during the peak years in 1967-1968. Though the war was far from over, it had settled into a quiescent stage characterized by sporadic skirmishes and few major battles.


Most people in Japan barely noticed the return of small, isolated, and generally unfamiliar facilities like Kishine Barracks. "Where's that?" all but the most informed people would have asked. The media's attention was all but on the return on 15 May 1972 of Okinawa, which had been under American control and jurisdiction since the United States invaded and captured the prefecture during the final year of the Pacific War.

Japan's media had focused on the return of Okinawa since the late 1960s, when Japan began pressing the United States to return the islands. And it continued until well after their return in the spring of 1972, as economic relations between Okinawa and the other prefectures developed and popular singers and others from Okinawa became nationally known.

People on the main islands also took an interest in the sort of curious changes which Okinawa had to under go after it rejoined Japan. Examples include the change from American to Japanese money, and driving rules. One day Okinawans are driving on the right American style, and the next they have to drive on the left Japanese style -- which requires changing all the signals and signage, but more importantly, developing new reflexes about lane changing and turning.

See Security issues in late 1960s and early 1970s (above) for more about the political and military milieu in which Kishine Barracks and other military installations were returned to Japan.


Kishine Park

See the entire Then and now feature below for photographs, maps, guides, and comments on the park that was built on the site of Kishine Barracks after its return to Yokohama.


Kishine images

This section is devoted to photographs and other images of the Kishine area past and present. Most of the images have been copped and sometimes cropped from images found on the Internet. A few are mine. I have credited all borrowed photographers and other images to their originators and/or contributors when such information was clearly provided. My thanks to everyone whose work I have reproduced here and my apologies to those who may not have been sufficiently acknowleged.


Kishine then and now

Entrance Main gate and guard house from southwest before arrival of 106th General Hospital
Taken February 1962 by Jim Szabo while on R&R from Korea
Szabo stayed in one of the buildings called "R&R Hotel"
Kishine snap Main gate and guard house after closing of 106th General Hospital
Date and photographer unknown.
No earlier than late spring 1970

The Above left photograph was taken before the December 1965 arrival of the 106th General Hospital at Kishine Barracks. The Above right photograph was taken after Kishine Barracks was returned to the city of Yokohama.

The picture to the right is a screen capture of a street view of the main entrance to Kishine Park. The parking lot to the right of the row of trees sits on the site of the theater and gymnasium behind the guard house.

The buildings behind the guard house are the movie theater and gymnasium. In the later photo, the gates are closed and a barbed wire barrier has been placed across the entrance. The entrance is also blocked by a common metal storage shed. Both signs on the guardhouse in the older photo are on the front of guardhouse in the later photo. The are no floodlights on the lateral supports in the older photo. The later photo shows a sign reading U.S. Army Hosital / Kishine / APO 96503 below the Kishine Barracks banner.

The woman standing with the soldier in the older picture is holding something.
A bouquet of roses? A bag of baguettes? A poodle?

Your TAT [Thematic Apperception Test] question for today is:
Tell a story about the man and the woman.

2015 entrance to Kishine Park and parking lot

Kishine entrance 2015
Kishine entrance 1965 Directory to Kishine Barracks and 106th General Hospital
Date and photographer unknown
Probably around 1967
Kishine entrance 2015 Directory to Kishine Park at southeast entrance (lower left)
Copped from Wikipedia 13 November 2015
Posted 30 April 2009 by Captain76

The Kishine Area Directory Above left is dated circa 1967 with the proviso that it was taken no earlier than spring or early summer 1966, since the lab and X-ray services, and a couple of other sections, were not located in the buildings where they are shown to be on this map before then. Note that the map does not show the passageways between the ward buildings and other new structures (see details on another representation of the same photograph below).

The park directory Above right is oriented to show the layout of the park from the vantage point of its entrance at the Rokkakubashi Middle School Entrance Intersection (Rokkakubashi-Chū Iriguchi Kōsaten 六角橋中入口交差点) intersection at the top of the hill up the street by the main park entrance, which used to be the entrance to Kishine Barracks. You can see the "You are here" arrow in the bottom corner where the power station was located.

Kishine snap Circa February 1963, children by barbed-wire fence Kishine snap 30 April 2009, southwest entrance to Kishine Park

The Above photograph of children playing by the fence was taken around February 1963 from the southwest corner at the top of hill up Suido-michi at the intersection of Suido-michi and the cross street on which children are playing. The intersection, called Rokkakubashi-Chu Iriguchi, is so named because the cross street leads to Rokkakubashi Middle School (chū-gakkō), a short distance to the south, in the direction the children are walking. The photo was copped from (とうよこ沿線), which credits it to Matsumoto Kōhei (松本幸平) of Rokkakubashi.

The Above right photograph shows the plaza of the southeast entrance to Kishine Park, taken from the Rokkakubashi Middle School Entrance Intersection at the very top of Suidō-michi. The plaza cuts through the site of the barracks which the 106th General Hospital used as medical wards. The street along the western perimeter of the park corresponds to the road on which the children are playing in the picture to the left. The 2009 photograph on the right was copped from Wikipedia, which attributed it to Captain76.


Vintage photos

The following photographs are copped from various websites. They are not of very high quality, and the kind and extent of the information accompanying them considerably varies with the source.

The photographs are shown in chronological order. All dates are based on the received descriptions, except the date of the closing ceremony, which was given as 1973 but was actually 1972.

I have credited the sources only when photo attributions were specific. The descriptions and comments in the captions are mine, but parts of the comments are translations or paraphrasings of the received descriptions.

Kishine snap Circa 1953, road from Kishine along paddies in Shinohara
Shinohara Kindergarten (Shinohara Yōchien しのはら幼稚園), about 300 meters down the road between present-day Kishine Park and Shin-Yokohama stations on the Blue Line subway, sits on the rice paddies in the foreground. The subway very roughly follows the road in the background, which was known as Bōgayato (坊海道). The name survives in the area, as in "Shinohara-chō Bōgayato Kōen" (篠原町坊海道公園), the name of a park (kōen 公園) in Shinhara-chō, north of Kishine Park. The paddies were filled, and the hills and flats are now buried in homes. The photo was copped from (とうよこ沿線), which credits it to Itō Yoshio (伊藤義雄) of Kishine-chō.
Kishine snap Circa 1963, road construction on Route 12 near barracks
New construction of Kamiasao stretch of Route 12, looking north, away from the intersection with Suidō-michi. Kishine barracks is immediately to the left. The Aoya (藍屋) restaurant near the woods on the left marks the site of today's Kishine Park Station on the Blue Line. The photo was copped from (とうよこ沿線), which credits it to Takahashi Minoru (高橋稔) of Kishine-chō

The compound 海道 in the Sino-Japanese expression 坊海道 (bōgayato) would usually be read "kaidō" and mean either "sea road" or "seaside provinces" -- as in "Tōkaidō" (東海道), which figures in so much of the history between the Kansai and Kantō regions and survives as the name of train lines that connect cities along the original route or through the same terrain. Here, though, the graphs 坊海道 are used to represent the expression "bō-ga-yato" or "valley of monks". A "yato" is a long stretch of wetland between rises on eiher side. When developing such land for rice cultivation, a trail or road would be built along one side of the low valley for access. The word "yato" is found mainly in the Kantō area and is especially common in parts of Kanagawa prefecture. Some linguists think it may be of Ainu origin. The genitive marker "ga" in "bō-ga-yato" is not graphically represented in 坊海道. The place name could graphed 坊ヶ谷戸 (bō ga yato), in which ヶ or "ke" ordinarily represents が or "ga". The variety of ways in which Japanese is graphically represented is what makes the writing and reading of the language interesting. Language is what is spoken and heard, and graphs don't pronounce themselves. The likelihood of a non-local person correctly pronouncing 坊海道 without having heard how locals pronounce it is practically zero. Understanding exactly what it refers to poses another problem. But this is true of all words. You either know how a word is pronounced, and what it refers to, or you don't. Nothing beats hearing a word and seeing or otherwise experiencing what it means.

Kishine snap Kishine snap

AboveCirca March 1958, one year after opening
The received description says the base was called "Kishine Camp" (Kishine Kyanpu 岸根キャンプ) at the time. The photo shows the water tower and the chimney of the power plant taken from the northwest side of camp. Other facilities continued to be built down to and after the arrival of the 106th General Hospital in 1965. Note that the water tower has not yet been graced with "KISHINE BARRACKS". The photo was copped from (とうよこ沿線), which credits it to Itō Yoshio (伊藤義雄) of Kishine-chō.

Above rightMid 1966 or later, chapel and EM quarters (Building E)
Shot from northwest corner of camp, from road along perimeter west of wards. Shows chapel and enlisted men's quarters in the foreground. Note that water tower has been painted with orange and white aviation obstruction markings, which was done sometime after the 106th arrived in 1965. My own photograph, taken in early 1966, shows an unmarked tower with only "KISHINE BARRACKS" on the water tank.

Right25 August 1972, children attending return ceremony
The parade grounds and baseball field where the ceremony is taking place had been opened to the public almost as soon as the 106th General Hospital had packed up and left. By 1980, the park had been built and Suido-michi had been widened and otherwise brought up to the lastest standards. Notice that some families with children, probably from the neighborhood, are attending the ceremony. The photo was copped from (とうよこ沿線), which credits it to Ebihara Kazuo (海老原和夫) of Kishine-chō.

Kishine snap


Suido street along Kishine Park

The following images are from a 2011 Yokohama city presentation related to a long-term project to widen the street called Tsurumi-Mitsuzawa Line (Tsurumi-Mitsuzawa-sen 鶴見三ツ沢線). Much of this street is more commonly called Suido Street (Suidō-michi 水道道), since it follows a major "waterway" (suidō) or water main.

Slide 23 Suidō-michi street work
The stretch along Kishine Park (dark gray) has been completed.
The stretches on either side (orange) are slated for widening.
Slide 22 Views of completed street work
(1) View of Suidō-michi from top of hill toward Tsurumi.
(2) View of Suidō-michi from bottom of hill toward Mitsuzawa.

Both images highlight the stretch of Suidō-michi along Kishine Park between Nishi-Kishine Intersection (Nishi-Kishine Kōsaten 西岸根交差点) at the bottom of the hill (to the right) and Rokkakubashi Middle School Entrance Intersection (Rokkakubashi-Chū Iriguchi Kōsaten 六角橋中入口交差点) at the top of the hill (to the left).

In the image to the left, the work on the street by the park is marked as completed (seibi-zumi 整備済み). The image to the right shows views of the completed work -- two traffic lanes, and wide sidewalks with curbs, rain gutters, and covered sewers.

The work involved widening the street in compliance with new standards to improve ability to safely handle two-way traffic and pedestsrians. In this case, the street was also provided with curbed sidewalks with rain gutters as well as covered sewers.

Facilitation of the land as a park began in 1940 but was interrupted by the war when the area became the site of anti-aircraft batteries. After the war, the area came under the control of U.S. forces, which had been the major part of the Allied Occupation forces, and it remained under U.S. Army control after the Occupation under the auspices of the U.S.-Japan security agreement.

Facilitation of the area as a park resumed in 1970 when the 106th General Hospital left and Kishine Barracks was closed. Parts of the area, in particular the baseball field and adjacent grounds in the southeast corner, were opened for public use in April 1971. In 1973, the rest of the area, including some private land which had been acquired for park use, was publicly opened as a park.

By 1980, the stretch of Suidō-michi in front of the park, shown in the above images, had been widened and provided with pedestrian walks and other features to bring it up to more recent standards. A prefectural Budōkan (武道館) -- a martial arts dōjō (道場) -- was built on the eastern part of the park in 1982. The Blue Line subway was extended under the park, and Kishine-Kōen Station -- straddling Kishine and Shinohara on Route 12 -- was opened in 1985. A direct exit on the northeast corner of the park, near Shinohara Pond (Shinohara-ike 篠原池), made access much easier.

Since the late 1980s, parts of the park, especially around Shinohara Pond near the subway station, and the western parts of the grounds at the top of Suidō-michi, have undergone more landscaping and reconstruction to provide new recreation facilities.


Area maps

Yokohama map 1965 Yokohama map 1975

Click on images to enlarge

1975 map showing Kishine area
Kishine-chō (岸根町) is the pink area to the left of the yellow area of Shinohara-chō (篠原町) in the center of the map. The map shows Shinohara Pond (Shinohara-ike 篠原池) but does not show any evidence of site of Kishine Barracks or Kishine Park as a distinct entity. The image is my scan from a book of maps of Kanagawa prefecture cities and neighborhoods published in 1975 by Shōbunsha (page 36).

June 1965 map showing Kishine Barracks
Kishine Barracks and some of its facilities are clearly identified on this large foldout map of Yokohama, published in June 1965 by Nippon Kokuseisha. The image is my scan of a copy of the map I bought a few weeks after arriving at Kishine Barracks with the 106th General Hospital in December 1965. It is not clear when the information representing Kishine Barracks was compiled.

Kishine 1965 Crop from June 1965 map showing Kishine Barracks (above)
Note "Golden Dragon", "U.S. Navy", and "FEES"

Kishine Barracks on 1965 map

The shape of the green area marked KISHINE BARRACKS (U.S.ARMY) on the map to the left, and the red representations of its buildings, appear to be very approximate or purely schematic, rather than based on direct observation and mapping of the site. Of interest are the identifications of the GOLDEN DRAGON, U.S. NAVY, FEES KISHINE, 'P.X, and FEES PERIODICALS.

Some of the typography -- "U.S.ARMY" and "'P.X" rather than "U.S. ARMY" and "P.X." -- can be seen in alphabetic representations in Japanese texts edited by people unfamiliar with English conventions, hence the omission of spaces between some words, and not marking the last letter of an abbreviation with a period.

The GOLDEN DRAGON was the officers club, and it was located just to the left of the entrance gate, immediately by the 2 BOQs -- bachelor officers quarters. I suppose the proximity of the club to the quarters was intended to save the military money, for if the club was more than a few steps from their quarters, some officers would have wanted a jeep with a driver.

I cannot confirm the meaning of "FEES", but judging from reports concerning people from various branches of the military, some of whom were living elsewhere in the area but attended short training programs at Kishine, I would guess that it might mean something like "Far East Education Services".

Kishine area on 1975 map

This map is a puzzle. It shows, in the middle of the south side, what corresponds to the entrance to the Kishine Barracks area, and a building to the left of the entrance, which would be the officers club. But in the southwest corner, it shows blocks corresponding to where the 4-story barracks were located, with streets connecting to the streets along the south and west perimeters. Moreover, it shows numbers like those assigned to blocks of land in other areas to facilitate identification of smaller lots within the blocks -- as though the area corresponding to the site of Kishine Barracks was just another part of the surrounding neighborhood. By 1975, it had already become a park, though most of park was still under construction.

Yokohama City Maps, August 1949

1949 Yokohama map Heart of 8th US Army in Occupied Yokohama
Nishi and Naka wards, old Yokohama waterfront
1949 Yokohama map Yokohama station and North Pier
Kanagawa ward, old Kanagawa waterfront

Click on images to enlarge the above maps, which were copped from Yo-Hi Devils, the home page of Yokohama High School and other regional American school alumni. See Maps for Kanto area maps and links to other maps, and More Maps for Yokohama area maps and an interactive version of the map on the left showing high-resolution images of selected areas.

August 1949 Occupation-era maps

The two above maps are part of a much larger "City Map of Yokohama" dated August 1949. The map was printed for use by Allied military forces and dependents in Yokohama. It shows major streets and locations of Allied installations and dependent housing in the Yokohama area, all clearly labeled in English. Map users were asked to bring omissions or errors to the attention of the "Intelligence Division, Engineer Office [Office of the Engineer], GHQ [General Headquarters], FEC [Far East Command], 4th Floor, Mitsubishi Shoji Building, Telephone 26-5090".

The Mitsubishi Shoji Building (Mitsubishi Shōji Birudingu 三菱商事ビルディング) was in Tokyo. Allied Occupation Forces commandeered the building for use as offices by a number of sections of GHQ/SCAP (General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers), including the Diplomatic Section (DS/SCAP), which proxied Japan's foreign affairs.

Old Yokohama and 8th U.S. Army Headquarters

The map to the left centers on the southern part of Yokohama's waterfront, associated with Nishi-ku (西区) or "west ward", and Naka-ku (中区) or "center ward", both south of Yokohama station. The flatter Nishi-ku -- in the upper half of the map -- includes the heart of Old Yokohama, in the days of the extraterritorial Foreign Settlement along the bay during the latter half of the 19th century, then Chinatown and the older entertainment and red-light districts. The hillier Naka-ku -- in the lower half of the map -- includes the Bluff and the Negishi and Honmoku areas.

Off the map

Yokohama station, in Kanagawa-ku (神奈川区), or "Kanagawa river ward", is just off the map directly north of the A.G. [Adjutant General] Printing Plant in the upper left corner of the map. North Pier, now known as North Dock, is east of Yokohama station and north of Central Pier. Kishine is in Kōhoku-ku (港北区), or "north-of-harbor ward", directly north of Yokohama station.

North Dock and U.S. Army Transportation Terminal

"North Dock" will be a nostalgic name for anyone stationed at the 106th General Hospital who had to ship anything to the United States when mustering out of the Army or being reassigned stateside. The following paragraphs, from a longer history of North Dock posted at, includes references to the U.S.

Yo-Hi 1958 Annual The 1958 Yo-Hi Annual
Annual for Yokohama High School, plus Negishi Elementary School and Beach Elementary School, edited by Yokohama High School, with profiles and pictures of the classes of 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, and 1963, published circa 1958 by the United States Army Transportation Command, Japan, APO 503
(Copped from images posted on by New Hampshire antiquarian book dealer Deborah Lavoie)

Yokohama North Dock
35°27'N 139°40'E

[ Omission ]

The occupation of ports in Yokohama by US Forces began on 2 September 1945 with the entrance of the 1st Cavalry Regiment into Yokohama. By the end of September, all key points in the Eighth Army zone in Honshu were occupied. This occupation was preceded by a mine sweeping mission under the command of Rear Admiral A. D. Struble that cleared the ports of Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Tokyo in seven days.

The key piers occupied by the United States Army were Center Pier, and North Pier, at that time newly completed reclaimed land. The Yokohama Base Port Command assumed operations at Center Pier on 17 September 1945. The port activities in Yokohama fell under the control of the 2d Port of Embarkation in June of 1946. The port moved general cargo, as well as mail, privately owned vehicles, and passengers through the passenger terminal located at North Pier.

After the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, the ports in Yokohama were key to the resupply of Korea, with a major role for the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Service. Center and North Piers played a significant role in providing maintenance support for Harbor Craft units located in Korea, as well as moving significant cargo tonnage. In 1955, the 2nd Transportation Command assumed control of ports in Northern and Southern Japan, and was renamed the Yokohama US Army Port.

The new command controlled small Army ports in Moji and Kobe, as well as Haugen, Hakata, Otaru, and Hachinohe. Throughout this time, their headquarters remained at Center Pier, Yokohama. In August of 1955, the US Army began the return of Center Pier to the Japanese, with the initiation of joint use of three berths. This move was made possible by completion of certain berthing facilities at North Pier. On 4 May 1956, after more than 10 years of operation at Center Pier, the new Army facilities at North Pier were opened in a two-day celebration.

The facilities included breakbulk and bulk petroleum facilities, as well as the passenger terminal. At that time, the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Services Office, Yokohama, also relocated to North Pier. The port mission remained significant, even after the formal end of hostilities in Korea. in 1956, the command, with more than 1,400 American and 11,000 Japanese employees handled more than 3.2 million tons of cargo and 82,677 passengers. As late as 1958, the port processed tonnage exceeding 2.4 million tons and over 56,000 passengers.

The port command was redesignated as the US Army Transportation Terminal Command in January of 1957, and it continued to support the United Nations forces in Korea through the early 1960s. During January 1960 the headquarters was redesignated as the United States Army Transportation Agency, Japan. At the same time, the supply and maintenance mission and the field movements missions and functions were relocated to Sagami Depot. During the late 1960's and early 1970's North Pier remained a hub of activity, supporting the US involvement in the Vietnam War. During this time, an average of six military ships a day used the facilities at North Pier.

[ Omission ]


1949 Yokohama map Kohoku ward, north-of-harbor Yokohama
1949 Kanto map Kanto road map centuring on Tokyo and Yokohama


Google maps of Kishine Park

Google maps Google Map centering on Kishine Park
Composite of several screen shots copped from Google Maps.
The thin broken red line is the route of the Blue Line subway.
The thick red line marks the boundary between Kōhoku ward (top right) and Kanagawa ward (bottom left).
The cluster of yellow buildings bottem center, below the southwest corner of the park, is Rokkakubashi Middle School. Some people who were students there when the 106th General Hospital was operation have blogged their memories of the period.
The broken black line remains a mystery. It does not correspond with any surface feature visible on satellite or street views but ties in with railway yards at its extremes.


Satellite views of Kishine Park

Satellite views Satellite views

Views of Kishine Park area from higher/boarder (top left and right) to lower/narrower (bottom) persepectives
Screen shots copped from Google Maps. Click on images to enlarge.

Satellite views


Street views of Kishine Park (April 2015)

The following images are screen shots copped from Google Maps.

The captured shots begin looking west up Suidō-michi at its intersection with Route 12 and end looking down Suidō-michi from the Rokkakubashi-Chū-Iriguchi intersection at the top.

The Street View footage was taken in April 2015.

Kishine street view At Nishi-Kishine Intersection
On Suidō-michi, looking west across Route 12. Kishine Park is where all the trees are, straight up the street on the right. Rokkakubashi Intersection, Hakuraku and Higashi Hakuraku stations, and Higashi Kanagawa station and the Yokohama waterfront, are down route 12 to the left.
Kishine street view By main entrance of Kishine Park
Halfway up Suidōmichi, looking west toward the top of the hill. The entrance is immediately to the right. Notice the signal and crosswalk. The street was widened and provided with curbed sidewalks and other safety features at the time the park was built in the mid and late 1970s.
Kishine street view Main entrance to Kishine Park
Looking north into the entrance. This is about where the gates and guard house of Kishine Barracks were located. The plaza inside the entrance corresponds to the open space in front of the headquarters building at Kishine Barracks. The park administration building is immediately to the left inside the entrance, about where the Officers Club was located. The parking to the right was built on the site of the theater and gymnasium.
Kishine street view Rokkakubashi neighborhood across from entrance
Looking southeast from the entrance of Kishine Park at the Rokkakubashi neighborhood across Suidō-michi. The Nishi-Kishine Intersection on Route 12 is at the foot of Suidō-michi to the left. The older wooden buildings that characterized Rokkakubashi are gone. In their place are 2-story homes, and 3-story and 4-story apartment buildings, some with stores on the ground level.
Kishine street view Rokkakubashi neighborhood across from entrance
Looking southwest from the entrance of Kishine Park at the Rokkakubashi neighborhood across Suidō-michi. The Rokkakubashi Middle School Entrance Intersection is at the top of Suidōbashi to the right. The building across the street is surrounded by scaffolding enclosed with tarps to facilitate repairs and repainting. To its west is a 2-story home and a 4-story apartment building.
Kishine street view At Rokkakubashi-Chū Iriguchi intersection
Looking down Suidōbashi toward the Nishi-Kishine Intersection on Route 12, from the top of hill at Rokkakubashi Middle School Entrance Intersection. The cross street runs along the west side of the park to the left. Rokkakubashi Middle School is about 100 meters down this street to the right. The park can also be entered from this corner. The mirror allows people on one street to see traffic on the other.


Other views of Kishine Park and vicinity

26 August 2015 photographs by cyclist

The following images are copped from several posted by a cyclist who biked from Shin-Yokohama station, via Route 12 to the Nishi-Kishine Intersection at Suidō-michi, then up Suidō-michi passed Kishine Park to the juncture of Shidō-michi with Shimokōchi (下耕地), and south on Shin-Yokohama Dōri (新横浜通り) to Mitsusawa Park (Mitsusawa Kōen 三ツ沢公園).

The images are dated 26 August 2015. See Mackey Town Blog -- Tokyo Environs Bicycle Course Guide (マッキータウンぶろぐ 〜 東京近郊自転車コースガイド) for a photographic record of the entire course.

Riding alongside automobiles and trucks is not my idea of fun cycling. I prefer the quieter roads along the fields and paddies in my semi-rural suburban neck of the woods.

2015-08-26 "Nishi-Kishine Intersection 300-meters ahead"
Sign on Route 12 proceeding south in direction of Higashi-Kanagawa station near Yokohama waterfront. Mitsusawa is to right on Suidō-michi along front of Kishine Park. Tsurumi is to left on Suidō-michi through Shinohara and other neighborhoods.
2015-08-26 On Route 12 at Nishi-Kishine Intersection
Intersection of Route 12 where it is crosseds by Suidō-michi. Lower (west) part of Kishine Park is immediately to the right.
2015-08-26 On Suidō-michi at bottom of the hill
After turning right off Route 12 at Nishi-Kishine Intersection. The hill climbs by Kishine Park immediately to the right. Except on exceptionally wide sidewalks, cyclists are required to use the left lanes the same as cars.
2015-08-26 Entrance to Kishine Park at bottom of hill
This entrance is on the southeast corner of the park at the northwest corner of Nishi-Kishine Intersection.
The entrance leads directly to the Budōkan, baseball field, and Shinohara Pond.

Drainage sewers run under the concrete slaps along the curb. You can see the gratings of at intervals along the sewer. In older times these were open. In some neighborhoods the slabs are short and can be lifted to clean the sewers. Curbed sidewalks are a more recent innovation in the few neighborhoods that have them. This stretch of Suidō-michi got a head start on account of the building of the park.


Kishine Park access

The easiest way to get to Kishine Park from Yokohama station is on the Blue Line (Buruu Rain ブルーライン) municipal subway. Kishine Park station (Kishine Kōen eki 岸根公園駅), numbered B24 on maps, is only 4 stations from Yokohama, which is numbered B20. See Transferring to Blue Line from JR Yokohama below.

Kishine Park station straddles the Kishine and Shinohara sides of Route 12. Most of the station is immediately under the northeast corner of the park. The closest exit -- Exit 2 -- comes out by the Shinohara Pond (Shinohara-ike 篠原池) entrance to the park.

Though called Shinohara, the pond is in Kishine-chō. Though part of the park, it was not part of Kishine Barracks. Though not part of Kishine Barracks, there rumors that the pond was polluted by waste and even blood from the 106th General Hospital.

Kishine street view Exit 2 of Kishine Kō subway station and vicinity
Looking west from the Shinohara side of Route 12.
Park to left. Family restaurant to right.
Screen shot copped from Street Views in Google Maps.
Kishine Park Station Exit 2 of Kishine Kō subway station
The subway platforms are 3 floors down.
27 March 2008 photograph by LERK from Wikipedia.
Kishine street view Schematic image of structure of Kishine Park Station
Platforms are 3 stories down. Exit 1 is elevator shaft near Exit 2.
Platform 1 (Ichi-ban-sen 1番線) is line on top with arrow to right.
Copped from Yokohama city website.
Kishine Park Station Kishine Kōen subway station platform
Platform 1 of Kishine Park station for trains
coming from Shin-Yokohama and continuing to Katakurachō.
27 March 2008 photograph by LERK copped from Wikipedia.
Subway map Map of Blue Line and Green Line subways Subway map English map of Blue Line and Green Line subways
Subway map Subway map marking rapid service stops (double concentric circles) Subway map Walking to Kishine Park


Blue Line subway

Kishine Kōen (岸根公園) station is number 24 (B24) of the 32 stations on the Blue Line, counting from Shōnandai (湘南台) station (B01) in lower left of the above map. Yokohama (横浜) station is number 20 (B24).

Kishine Kōen is 9 minutes (5.4 kilometers) from Yokohama.

The three stations between Yokohama and Kishine Kōen stations are Mitsuzawa-shimochō (三ツ沢下町), Mitsuzawa-kamichō (三ツ沢上町), and Katakurachō (片倉町).

Transferring to Blue Line from JR Yokohama

If arriving by JR [Japan Railway] trains at Yokohama station from the direction of Tokyo (which is north of Yokohama), go down the stairs at the very front (south end) of the platform and follow the flow of people and signs to the South Entrance (Minami kaisatsu 南改札) [South wickets (ticket gates)]. When outside the gates, veer to the right and follow the flow of signs in the passageways to the stairs and escalators that lead to the Blue Line gates. After descending to the Blue Line platform, board a train bound for Azamino (あざみ野) in the direction of Shin-Yokohama (新横浜).

Be aware, however, that there are two kinds of trains -- local (kakueki 各駅) trains which stop at every station, and semi-express or rapid service (kaisoku 快速) trains, which skip smaller stations, including Kishine Park. The above (lower-left) subway map shows the express stops in concentric circles. The nearest rapid service stops, on either side of Kishine Park, are Yokohama (横浜) (B20) and Shin-Yokohama (新横浜) (B25).

During the main hours of the day, there is at least one train every 7 to 8 minutes. From mid morning to early evening, there are typically 8 local trains and 2 express trains per hour.


Walking from Shin-Yokohama to Kishine Park

The walk from Shin-Yokohama is only about 1.5 kilometers through Shinohara, which should take only 20 minutes or so if you know the route, 30 minutes if you have to stop now and then to confirm directions, longer if you pause to take in the now very suburban sites.

The map on the right shows a walkable route from Shin-Yokohama to Yokohama stations, via Kishine Park, taking back streets through residential neighborhoods rather than the more roundabout though easier-to-follow main roads. I copped the map from a blogger named Tasone_99, who did the walk on 5 November 2013.

The blogger walked from Shin-Yokohama station to the west exit (nishiguchi 西?) of Yokohama station, via Kishine Kōen and Kanagawa University (Kanagawa Daigaku 神奈川大学). He said the distance was 5.7 kilometers and required 70 minutes. That's about 800 meters/10 minutes, which is a bit (but not a lot) faster than average. This implies a normal speed and gait, maintained without pausing to study a map. Someone not familiar with the streets would need to take more time. The image the blogger posted of the route suggests he relied on a smart phone with GPS navigation which very likely audibly told him where and when to turn.


Bus access

Kishine guide Access map to Kishine park showing streets, stations, and bus stops
Map copped from Yokohama Greenery Foundation (Kōeki Zaidan Hōjin Yokohama-shi Midori no Kyōkai).

Yokohama city bus lines

A few Yokohama city bus lines have stops in the immediate vicinity of Kishine Park.

No. 38 stops at "Rokkakubashi North Town" (Rokkakubashi Kitamachi 六角橋北町). The bus runs between the west exit of Yokohama station (Yokohama-eki nishiguchi 横浜駅西口) and Tsurumi station (Tsurumi-eki 鶴見駅) by way of Route 12 and Suidō-michi (水道道). There are only about 2 buses per hour.

No. 39 stops at both "Rokkakubashi North Town" (Rokkakubashi Kitamachi 六角橋北町) and at "Front of Shinohara Pond" (Shinohara-ike-mae 篠原池前). The bus runs between the west exit of Yokohama station (Yokohama-eki nishiguchi 横浜駅西口) and "Nakayama station" (Nakayama-eki-mae 中山駅前) along Route 12. This is a heavily travelled route, and there are at least 5 buses per hour between morning and evening. This is probably your best choice for bus transportation from Yokohama station.

No. 291 stops at "Front of Rokkakubashi Middle School" (Rokkakubashi Chūgakkō Mae 六角橋中学校前) and "Front of Kishine Park" (Kishine Kōen Mae 岸根公園前) on Suidōmichi, right in front of the park. The bus runs along a less-travelled local circuit route between the west exit of Yokohama station (Yokohama-eki nishiguchi 横浜駅西口) and "Front of Ōguchi station" (Ōguchi-eki-mae 大口駅前). There is only one bus per hour.


Highway access

Highway map Map of highway and expressway access to vicinity of Kishine Park
Kishine Park (岸根公園) is the green area at the green tack in the center.
Yokohama station (横浜) is bottom center, Tsurumi station (鶴見) is to the right.
The map is a screenshot of a Navitime image.

Highway access

The pink roads are National Routes 1, 14, 15, and 16. They are not freeways but streets with intersections and signals. If proceeding on National Route 1 (Kokudō Ichi-gō-sen 国道1号線) from Yokohama and Kanagawa, turn left at "West Kanagawa" (西神奈川) onto the Yokohama Kami Asao Line (横浜上麻生線) aka as Kanagawa Prefecture Route 12, and proceed west to the West Kishine Intersection (Nishi-Kishine Kōsaten 西岸根交差点) at Suidō-michi (水道道) -- about 2.4 kilometers from Route 1.

The thick blue road is the 3rd Tokyo-Yokohama Road (Daisan Keihin dōro 第三京浜道路), aka as National Route 466 (Kokudō Yon-roku-roku-gō-sen 国道466号線). It runs as an expressway -- insterspersed with on-off ramps (de-iri-guchi 出入口), interchanges (IC), junctures (JCT), and parking areas (PA) -- between Setagaya ward in Tokyo and Kanagawa ward in Yokohama, via of Kawasaki.

The yellow roads are prefectural roads such as Route 12.


Vintage access

Toyoko Dentetsu map

Tōyoko Railway stations from Yokohama bay to Tama river (circa 1930)

Stations along Yokohama-Shinmaruko stretch of Tōyoko Railway (Tōyoko Dentetsu 東横電鉄), which is now part of Tōkyū Tōyoko line (Tōkyū Tōyoko Sen 東急東横線) that runs between Yokohama station in Kanagawa prefecture and Shibuya station in Tokyo. The stretch shown here runs from Yokohama bay lower left, across the Tsurumi river (Tsurumigawa 鶴見川) center, to the Tama river (Tamagawa 玉川) right, which marks the boundary between Kanagawa and Tokyo prefectures. A couple of stations no longer exist, a couple have been renamed or are new, and all which have survived have been rebuilt.

The stations most closely related to the Kishine are, from left to right, Yokohama (横浜), Kanagawa (神奈川) [no longer exists on this line], Tammachi (Tanmachi 反町), Higashi Hakuraku (東白楽), and Hakuraku (白楽). The latter two stations are along Route 12 between Suidō-michi -- the street which fronted Kishine Barracks -- and the Yokohama waterfront. The image was copped from, which credits it to the Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture (Ōkura Seishin Bunka Kenkyūjo 大倉精神文化研究所).


Kishine Park guides

Kishine guide Directory to Kishine Park at southeast entrance (lower left)
Copped from Wikipedia 13 November 2015
Posted 30 April 2009 by Captain76

Kishine Park Guide Map

Shinohara Pond (Shinohara-ike 篠原池), in the upper-right (northeast) corner, was there long before the advent of Kishine Barracks in the mid 1950s, but was not part of the Kishine Barracks property.

The small plaza, baseball field, and playground in the upper-left (northwest) corner were built on the site of the anti-aircraft batteries that were operated by the Imperial Japanese Army until demobilized by the U.S. Army after World War II. Kishine Barracks did not include this land, either.

Kishine guide Interactive guide to Kishine Park features
Guide copped from Yokohama Greenery Foundation (Kōeki Zaidan Hōjin Yokohama-shi Midori no Kyōkai 公益財団法人横浜市緑の協会).
Click on the map for the original interactive Internet version.


Park vs Barracks

Relating Kishine Park's major features to facilities at Kishine Barracks

The value of the above interactive guide map is the color-coding of the park's major features. The following table shows the corresponding features of Kishine Barracks.

I have represented the names of features as shown on the above map, and on the Key to Major Building page in the 1969 report on the 106th General Hospital (at top of this page)

In the table, I have translated "hiroba" (広場) as "square" just to be consistent. The expression refers to a "wide [expansive] place" that could be a plaza or simply an open space. Other translations are also my own. There are no official English versions.

The names of some "squares" of are mostly metaphors for peace and enjoyment. The "gourd" (hyōtan ひょうたん 瓢箪) of "Gourd field" refers to the shape of the field.

Comparison of Kishine Park and Kishine Barracks

Location Kishine Park Kishine Barracks
Japanese English
Left top 西広場
Nishi hiroba
West square Outside Kishine Barracks
Imperial Army anti-aircraft batteries
Left top 少年野球所
Shōnen yakyūjō
Boys baseball field Outside Kishine Barracks
Imperial Army anti-aircraft batteries
Left top ゆうゆう広場
Yūyū hiroba
Quiet square Outside Kishine Barracks
West of chapel
North of EM quarters
Left ひょうたん原っぱ
Hyōtan harappa
Gourd field Medical wards
Mess hall
Helicopter port
Center top 展望広場
Tenbō hiroba
Observation square Ammunition Storage Point
(north of CMS and OR)
Center middle 忍者とりで
Ninja toride
Ninja fortress Between OR and
power plant
Center middle せせらぎ広場
Seseragi hiroba
Murmuring square Motor pool
Power plant
Swimming pool
Bottom left 管理センター
Kanri sentaa
Administration center Officers club
Bottom middle 中央広場
Chūō hiroba
Central square Entrance gate
Bottom right 駐車場
Parking lot Movie theater
Right top 篠原池
Shinohara pond Outside Kishine Barracks
Right middle 武道館
Martial way [arts] hall Sewage plant
Ammunition bunker
Right bottom 野球場
Baseball field Parade and
baseball field


Kishine stories

Everyone who passed through Kishine Barracks, before and after the arrival of the 106th General Hospital, has a story to tell. Many of the stories will be similiar, and some will be utterly trivial, but all represent the experiences of those who there for whatever reason.

The following stories are taken from books, journals, newsletters, Internet forums, blogs, and other media. As always, I have cited their sources liberally while inviting readers to pursue the original sources when available and possible. Unless otherwise noted, [bracketed], boxed, and other remarks and comments are mine.


The WAC detachment at Camp Kishine (1957)

Use of girdles and falsies to improve figures military secret

1957 America was abuzz with news about topics like Little Rock, Arkansas and Sayonara, Hollywood's dramatization of James Michener's 1954 novel about romance beween American soldiers and Japanese women.

In Japan, the Korean War was four years over and there had been massive demobilization of U.S. troops. The renewal of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty, and the civil wars it triggered between mostly leftist student protesters and police, was three years off. As though to assure that they wouldn't be bored, the Great Spirit of journalism gave foreign correspondents in Japan two stories they couldn't ignore or resist.

The story they couldn't ignore involved the shooting of a Japanese woman by William S. Girard, an American soldier, during a firing exercise at Camp Weir in Gunma prefecture on 30 January 1957 (see Gregory J. Kupski (1957), below, for a brief account of the Girard case, and The Girard and Kupski cases: Extraterritoriality and jurisdiction in post-Occupation Japan for detailed reports on both cases and others). The story they could have ignored, but couldn't resist, centered on an inspection of a detachment of WACs at Camp Kishine on 12 October 1957. Both stories were widely reported in American papers. Sometimes they went out on the wires on the same day and some papers printed them on the same page.

Camp Kishine had just been opened that June in Yokohama to consolidate a number of other facilities that had to be closed. WACs -- not one, or 2 or 3, or half a dozen -- or 1, 2, or even 4 dozen -- but 8 dozen WACs -- 96 genuine members of the Women's Army Corps -- were billeted at Kishine, where they had to stand inspection to make sure they were properly uniformed.

The Camp Kishine WAC stories were cranked out by two major wire services -- Associated Press (AP) and United Press (UP) -- both before and after the inspection. The stories were picked up by numerous American newspapers, most of which heavily depend on wire-service copy for their non-local news. Even Time magazine could not resist the comic relief.

Time magazine report

The 21 October 1957 issue of Time Magazine, which featured Britain's Prince Philip on its cover, carried the following report about the WAC detachment inspection at Camp Kishine. I have copied and pasted the start of story below. See Time for access to full story.

Time Magazine

Monday, Oct. 21, 1957

ARMED FORCES: Uplift for Sad Sags

The 96 troops stood at broomstick-straight attention as the lieutenant eyed them severely. Checking up and down the lines, the lieutenant observed that the uniformed contingent was not all it should be. Chins tucked in? Yes. Stomachs sucked in? Yes, sort of. Chests out? Well, hardly.

So the lieutenant, Jeane Wolcott, 28, head of a detachment of U.S. WACs on duty at Camp Kishine in Yokohama, had a heart-to-heart talk with her girls. "Some of the young ladies who are not too gifted in some ways," she explained later, "were told that they could make improvements. For a few who . . .

Contemporary readers would have easily picked up on the "Sad Sags" title, which alluded to the popular World War II comic strip "Sad Sack", about a hapless soldier in the U.S. Army for whom nothing ever goes quite right. The strip continued after the war, and even embraced the Korean War. Newspaper syndication ceased in 1957, but it lived on in other media until the mid 1970s.

Kishine Barracks was not, as is so often claimed, a Korean War R&R facility. It was built to consolidate facilities that remained scattered around Yokohama after demobilization following the Allied Occupation of Japan, which ended in 1952, and the Korean War, which by then had reached a stalemate and would end in an armistice in 1953. It was scheduled to begin construction in 1955, but construction did not seriously get under way until 1956, and after a series of delays it was finally opened -- though not yet really completed -- in 1957.

The barracks at Camp Kinshine could accommodate fairly large units, and also individuals who needed quarters while attending training programs at the facility, while in transit between posts including posts in Korea, or while in Japan on R&R most likely from Korea. As a facility built for the purpose of quartering military personnel, it makes perfect sense that a detachment of WACs arriving in Yokohama would be billeted there -- at least temporally.

AP and UP wire service reports

The Time article, as are virtually all Time articles, was written by Time writers. It may, of course, have been partly sourced by other reports, such as those created by major wire services.

Both wire services put out stories on the WAC detachment before and after its inspection. AP reports generally carried a "Yokohama, Japan" dateline, while UP reports usually stated "Camp Kishine, Japan" as the place of the report. AP's early reports refer only to a "regional camp" in Yokohama, whereas later reports specify "Camp Kishine".

Wire service reports come signed and unsigned -- i.e., with and without a "byline". Some of UP's Camp Kishine reports are signed by John Zimmermann (or Zimmerman), who also reported on the Girard case for UP.

I am unable to confirm the writer's name or otherwise identify him. John Gerald Zimmerman (1927-2002) was a photographer for Time and Life in the 1950s is listed as such in numerous credits. He is best remembered for his covers on Sports Illustrated, a Time-Life magazine, for whom he began shooting in 1956. The "Zimmermann" spelling is most common in the UP bylines, and so I presume that this is not the photographer. And I can't think of a reason a photographer of John G. Zimmerman's reputation would be sent to Japan to cover the Girard trial and coincidentally pick up the WAC detachment story. So I would take "John Zimmermann" to be exactly as he is described in his UP bylines -- "United Press Staff Correspondent".

As with most wire service reports, subscribing newspapers are fairly free to edit the received copy to fit its content needs and space limitations. Wire copy -- meaning text which came over the wire by telegraphy, literally "writing at a distance" -- had simple unflavored headings that identified the stories. Newspapers in principle had to write their own headlines, which depended on space and the column-width of the article and what the newspaper wanted to make of the story. Hence 10 versions of the same wire report will probably be somewhat differently worded and may be of different length, but will almost certaintly have different headlines.

The flow of different versions of the same report, however, will probably be the same. Most reports are composed in what is called an "inverted pyramid" style that allows for easy cutting from the end of the copy without harming the "integrity" of what remains above the cut. This makes it easier for editors to chop a long wire service report down to size to fit a given amount of space.

Sampling of Camp Kishine WAC detachment headlines and stories

The following list is a sample of the AP and UP articles that reported first the preliminaries and then the results of the inspection of the WAC detachment at Camp Kishine on Saturday, 12 October 1957. Some of the articles are shown to the right. Parts of others are transcribed below.

Ward Frederick Wolcott Jeane U.S. Army Register, Volume 1: United States Army Active and Retired List
1 January 1961, United States Government Printing Office
(Captured from

Personna dramatis

Lt. Col. Frederick G. Ward

Lt. Col. Frederick George Ward, born in Maine on 8 June 1909, was the newly appointed head of the Yokohama Troop Command at Camp Kishine. Before coming to Yokohama, he had been the Deputy Commanding Officer at Fort Story, Virginia. He appears to have served in the Cavalry Reserve from 1933-1936 after getting a BS in chemistry. In 1941 he got an MA in education, then in 1942, shortly after the start of the Pacific War, he joined the Regular Army. He held posts in the Quartermaster Corps, and then in the Transportation Corps, for which he had received advanced officer school training. His post at Kishine was essentially related to troop movements.

Lt. Jeane Wolcott

Lt. Jeane Marie Wolcott, born in Ohio on 20 September 1929, was the head of the newly arrived 96-woman WAC detachment assigned to duties at the Army Transportation Terminal and at the regional camp at Kishine. She enlisted on 6 September 1949 and served in the ranks until 1954, when she graduated from WAC basic officer school and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. She became a 1st lieutenant in 1957 before coming to Kishine. Data from the 1972 issue of the U.S. Army Register shows gained temporary rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 22 December 1969 and permanent rank of Major on 29 June 1970, civilian education level 5, military education level 6.

Wire service reports on Camp Kishine WAC detachment inspection (10-16 October 1957)

Scources   All of the following information has been culled and composed from images and copy sources such as and The lower quality images of entire pages are as downloaded. The higher quality readable clippings are my own screen captures of selected parts of a scan. Replications of or excerpts from selected articles are either my transcriptions of readable scans or my edits of often garbled OCR copy. Please visit the above websites for full higher quality scans of the articles. [Bracketed remarks] and most ellipses ( . . . ), and all comments, are mine.

Thursday, 10 October 1957

WACs Are Told To Shape Up
The Evening Standard (Uniontown, Pennsylvania), page 24

WAC Officer In Japan Tries To Whip Outfit Into Shape
The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), page 24

Girdle Order WAC Detachment Is Told To 'Shape Up.'
Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville, Kentucky), page 1

WAC Officer Tells Girls To 'Shape Up'
The Lawton Constitution (Lawton, Oklahoma), page 25

Some Wacs Don't Fit Bill, Are Ordered to Shape Up
The Milwaukee Journal (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Part 1, page 2

WACs in Yokohama Advised to Shape Up
The Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah), page 9

WAC Detachment In Japan Told To Shape Up
Ocala Star Banner (Ocala, Florida), page 1

See image to right.

WAC Officer Tells Girls To Shape Up,
Add Glamor Where Nature Failed

The Register Guard (Eugene, Oregon), page 4A

See image to right.

Shape Up! WACs In Japan Are Told
Sarasota Journal (Sarasota, Florida), page 24

Friday, 11 October 1957

Shape Up, Girls!
WAC Outfit In Japan Is Told To Fill Uniforms In Right Places

The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio), page 9

See image to right.

This page ran the photograph of Lt. Wolcott with the caption citing her mother (see The Gettysburg Times above), along with the 10 October AP report from Japan. The same page also featured an article and photograph on the Girard shooting case (see below).

Lt. Jeane Walcott (AP Wirephoto)
The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), page 6

The article in the 10 October edition of The Gettysburg Times (above) was the full report generated by AP in Japan. The article in this 11 October edition was a brief generated by AP in the United States as a caption to accompany a photograph of Lt. Wolcott, which AP had obtained from her mother, whose comments about her now famous daughter are cited in the caption. The photograph and the caption were sometimes run along with the AP article from Japan, as in the 11 October edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer (see above).

Lt. Jeanne Wolcott, 25, above, of Kent, Ohio, has ordered the WAC detachment in Yokohama, Japan, to shape up before Saturday with an assist from falsies and girdles where necessary. Mrs. Dorothy Walcott, mother of the WAC detachment commander, commented, "She dresses well and tries to look her best at all times." (AP Wirephoto)

New CO Says:
WAC Detachment Must Shape Up

St. Petersburg Times (Tampa Bay, Floria), page 10-B

See image to right.

Saturday, 12 October 1957

This was the day of the inspection at Camp Kishine. But most of 12 October in Japan was still 11 October in America. Americans remember Pearl Harbor on 7 December but Japanese remember it on 8 December. Because Japan time is 14 (or 13) hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 17 (or 16) hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time, WAC inspection reports wired by the evening of the 12th could appear in some American papers dated the same day.

Restacked WACs Rate Raves
Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona), page 25 (26?)

Restacked WACs Rate Raves



A freshly-stacked Yokohama WAC detachment passed a critical "shape up" inspection today with both official and non-official "judges" agreed that all the curves were in the right places. Whether any of the WACs had followed their detachment commander's advice to use girdles and falsies if necessary to improve their figures was, naturally, a military secret. As far as the unofficial observers -- a small army of eager newsmen and photographers -- were concerned, it was impossible to tell where nature left off and padding began. The official observers were pleased, too. "They're a credit to the army," said Lt. Col. Frederick G. Ward, the well-upholstered post commander, who wore a brand-new green uniform for the occasion. Even Lt. Jeanne Wolcott, the detachment commander who issued the push-out, pull-in orders, grudgingly agreed after passing up and down the ranks of the WACS in their greyish-tan winter uniforms with the Peter Pan collars. "A few need a little more work," said the attractive, shapely ex-recruiting sergeant from Kent, Ohio. "But the girls look better." However, she said some of the girls would have to give nature an assist. "I send them to a doctor and he places them on a diet," she said. After the inspection, Lt. Wolcott explained the reasons for her "shape up" orders to newsmen. "Give me a man who is a man and a woman should be a woman," she said, casting a critical eye on the reporters and photographers. "We are built differently," she said, and the press corps nodded agreement. "So we have to go to extreme pains to make our uniforms fit." She admitted it was a touchy subject. She noted that she could not order any of the WACS to "get the necessary padding because they are not regulation issue." But observers agreed that regulation or not, Lt. Wolcott won her "battle of the bulge."

Sunday, 13 October 1957

WAC Detachment Wins Battle Of "Bulges"
The Atchison Daily Globe Enquirer (Atchison, Kansas), page 9

Company Is All 'Dream Girls'
Now, After WACs Add 'Touches'

The Daily Reporter (Dover, Ohio), page 1

Yokohama WAC Detachment Wins "Battle Of The Bulge"
The Lawton Constitution And Morning Press (Lawton, Oklahoma), page 6

WAC Detachment In Japan Wins Its Battle Of Bulge
Ocala Star Banner, (Ocala, Florida) page 16

See image to right.

WAC Outfit Is Victor In Bulge Battle
The Odessa American (Odessa, Texas), page 7

The San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, California), page 7

New Girdles, Bras Help WACs Win 'Credit to Army' Rating
Sunday Independent (Wilkes-Barre, Pensyllvania), page 1

New Girdles, Bras Help WACs Win 'Credit to Army' Rating

CAMP KISHINE -- Japan (UP) -- A Yokohama WAC detachment passed a "tummy in, chest out" inspection yesterday braced by new girdles and falsies.

"They're a credit to the Armv," said Lt. Col. Frederick G. Ward, the post commander, who donned a new green uniform for the occasion.

Detachment Commander Lt. Jeanne Wolcott, who issued the "fill that uniform" order earlier last week, still had more hope than praise for her charges.

"A few needed a little more work." she said, "but the girls look better."

The attractive blue-eyed ex-recruiting sergeant from Kent, Ohio, explained her philosophy to newsmen after the review.

"It's like I feel myself," she explained. "Give me a man who is a man, and a woman should be a woman."

"We are built differently," she added, "so we have to go to extreme pains to make our uniforms fit."

She indicated some of her WACs needed more help than others in looking like "a woman," however.

"I send them to a doctor and he places them on a diet," she said. But she added other WACs needed more than nature provided to fill their uniforms.

But, she admitted it was a touchy question.

"I couldn't order anyone to get the necessary padding because they are not regulation issue."

Newsmen and photographers who covered the review reported they couldn't tell whether it was the padding or the girls that made yesterday's review such a success.

Unit Of WAC's Shapes Up For "Bulge Battle"
Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho), page 8

WAC Detachment Rated Excellent
The Winona Daily News (Winona, Minnesota), page 18

Monday, 14 October 1957

Valley Morning Star Detail (Harlingen, Texas), page 1

See image to right.

As shown in the image to the right of the the Monday, 14 October 1957 edition of Valley Morning Star in Harlingen, Texas, this article was run as a caption under a large 4-column photograph featured in practically in center of the front page, above the fold, showing a profile of a younger enlisted woman in uniform on the right facing an older male officer on left with another woman in uniform in the middle looking on. The caption read as follows (the quality of the received scan is poor and I cannot confirm all the names).

FILLED UNIFORMS -- M-Sgt. Veva Halouska, Arnold, Neb. (right) "shapes up" at attention while being scrutinized by Camp Kishine (Yokohama) commander, Lt. Col. F.G. Ward (left). WAC detachment commander Lt. Jeane Wolcott of Kent, Ohio, (center) looks on. Lt. Wolcott had issued an order earlier that her WACs were to fill out their uniforms properly even if they had to use artifical devices. (UP Telephoto)

Veva Halouska tombstone Cliff Table Cemetery, Merna, Nebraska
(Find a Grave photo by "Starlight")

Veva Ruth Halouska was born in Arnold, in Custer County, Nebraska, on 24 December 1922. She died at Heritage Hall in Broken Bow, Nebraska, though she had been residing in Arnold, on 20 September 2005, at the age of 82, and is buried in Cliff Table Cemetery in Merna, also in Custer County.

Veva, a Master Sergeant when this photo was taken, had become a Sergeant Major by the time she was released from her second enlistment on 31 December 1973 -- after serving in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. She was going on 35 at the time of the Camp Kishine WAC inspection on 12 October 1957 -- about the right age for her rank. She was going on 21 when she first enlisted on 19 November 1943, and so was 14 years into her 30-year career when she stood for inspection at Camp Kishine. She was formally released from her first enlistment on 14 August 1968 and immediately re-enlisted as of the following day.

Veva was the 7th of 10 children and the 3rd of 4 daughters born between 1907 and 1932 to Frank Ignaz Halouska, a naturalized immigrant from Bohemia (Czechoslovakia), and Rosa Mary (Beckler) Halouska, a Nebraska-born daughter of German immigrants. 10 children in 25 years means an average of 2 years 9 months between children. There were several such large families among my own 19th-century ancestors, but by the turn of century much smaller families had become the norm, even in farming families like the Halouskas.

An obituary states that Veva grew up in the Arnold area, attended Pleasant Hill School through grade 10, received her GED through the Army and attended college for one year, retired from the military after 30 years of service, and was a "vibrant, take-ac-tion type of individual" who was "very caring and had a heart of gold" and "enjoyed nature, birds, squirrels, dachshunds and gardening."

Veva Halouska
El Paso Herald-Post (El Paso, Texas), page 27

See image to right.

The Monday, 14 October 1957 edition of the El Paso Herald-Post carried a 1-column photo brief consisting of a crop from the UP Telephoto photograph showing only the master sergeant WAC who was being scrutinized, over a caption consisting of her rank and name and a brief description of the occasion, which began like this (the quality of the received scan is poor and I cannot confirm all the names).

Veva Halouska

MSgt Veva Halouska of Arnold, Neb., "shapes up" at attention at Camp Kishine near Yokohama while being scrutinized by the camp commander. WAC Detachment Commander Lieut. Jeane Wolcott of Kent, Ohio, had issued an order that her Wac's were to fill out their uniforms properly even if they had to use artifical devices.

United Press post-inspection story

WAC Group Wins Battle of Bulge; Officers Pleased
Medford Mail Tribune (Medford, Oregon), page 2

WAC Group Wins Battle of Bulge; Officers Pleased

United Press Correspondent

Camp Kishine, Japan (UP) -- A Yokohama WAC detachment won the "battle of the bulge." Both official and unofficial judges agreed all their curves were in the right places. Whether any of the WACs, on advice of superior officials, had used falsies and girdles to pass the critical "shape up" inspection was naturally a military secret. As far as the unofficial observers a small army of eager newsmen and photographers were concerned, it was impossible to tell where nature left off and padding began. The official observers were pleased, too. "They're a credit to the army" said Lt. Col. Frederick G. Ward, the well-upholstered post commander, who wore a brand-new green uniform for the occasion.

'A Little More Work'

Even Lt. Jeanne Wolcott, the detachment commander who issued the push-out, pull-in orders, grudgingly agreed after passing up and down the ranks of the WACs in their greyish-tan winter uniforms with the peter pan collars. "A few need a little more work," said the attractive, shapely ex-recruiting sergeant from Kent, Ohio, "but the girls look better." However, she said some of the girls would have to give nature an assist. "I send them to a doctor and he places them on a diet," she said.

Reason For 'Shape up'

After the inspection, Lt. Wolcott explained the reasons for her "shape up" orders to newsmen. "Give me a man who is a man and a woman should be a woman," she said, casting a critical eye on the reporters and photographers. "We are built differently," she said, and the press corps nodded agreement. "So we have to go to extreme pains to make our uniforms fit." She admitted it was a touchy subject. She noted that she could not order any of the WACS to "get the necessary padding because they are not regulation issue." But observers agreed that regIation or not, Lt. Wolcott won her "Battle of the Bulge."

Associated Press post-inspection story

WACs Come Through With Flying Colors

The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan), page 14

WACs Come Through With Flying Colors

YOKOHAMA, Japan, Oct. 14 (AP) -- A WAC detachment came through with flying colors Saturday in its battle of the bulge. Falsles and girdles decreed by the detachment's pretty young commander shaped up the outfit to win a "high execellent" rating from tough colonel who likes sharp soldiers. Lt. Col. Frederick G. Ward of Harrington, Maine, said the 96-woman detachment at this U. S. Army port narrowly missed "superior" rating. Three uniforms slightly scorched by too-hot irons and four pair of slightly off-color shoes cost the detachment the highest mark. Lt. Jean Wolcott of Kent, Ohio, a shapely 28-year-old who came up through the ranks, said she was well pleased with the feat of her charges. "I imagine they probably did," she said, when asked if the women had taken advice given them last week in a "girl-to-girl" chat. After her first inspection of the unit last week the new commander advised women not "generously endowed" to try falseis to pad out their uniforms. "I don't like to see a uniform hang," she explained. "A few women who were beginning to bulge a bit were advised to wear girdles."

Tuesday, 15 October 1957

Independent (Long Beach, California), page 5


Lt. Jeanne Wolcott, 28, center, of Kent, Ohio, commander of a 96-woman WAC detachment at Yokohama, Japan, who advised her girls to shape up, watches as her unit passes inspection with a "high excellent" rating by Lt. Col. Frederick G. Ward. Col. Ward, new commander of the Yokohama Troop Command, is shown inspecting Sp3 Charlotte Richardson of Beverdale, Pa. Lt. Wolcutt, who came up through the ranks, advised some of her girls to try falsies to pad out their uniforms and others to wear girdles. -- (AP Photo)

Wednesday, 16 October 1957

WACs Pass "Shape Up" Inspection
Pampa Daily News (Pampa, Texas), page 2

WACs Pass "Shape Up" Inspection

United Press Staff Correspondent

CAMP KISHINE, Japan (UP) -- A freshly-stacked Yokohama WAC detachment passed a critical "shape up" inspection today with both official and non-official judges agreed that all the curves were in the right places. If any of the 96 lady soldiers, officially "advised" to use girdles and falsies if necessary to improve their figures, had resorted to such artificial assistance it was, naturally, a military secret. . . .

AP and UP reports on Kishine WACs

 Kishine WACs Before inspection
Thursday, October 10, 1957
Ocala Star Banner
Sunday, October 13, 1957
After inspection
 Kishine WACs Racism and racialism   The "Colored Obituary" (racism) and the "negro" nomenclature (racialism) in the police blotter column characterized the times. Some northern papers also habitually labeled "colored" people. But the segregation of content, while not unknown in the north, was more likely seen in the south.  Kishine WACs St. Petersburg Times
Friday, October 11, 1957
WAC detachment double billing
Lt. Jeane Walcott
Domestic AP wirephoto & Japan AP report
Thursday, October 10, 1957
 Kishine WACs Sputnik   I had just begun my junior year in high school and dreamed of being an electronics engineer in the expanding space program. Students like me were in great demand in the "Sputnik generation" as America lagged behind the Soviet Union in rocketry and desperately need more engineers. I was interested in aeuronautics related to space travel, though, not in weapons development -- but the technology was the same, and reaseach and development was driven by military needs.  Kishine WACs The Milwaukee Journal
Thursday, October 10, 1957
Little Rock  Again, the ever important context of the Yokohama story in the age of social unrest as America continued to face the legacy of its age of slavery. As I write this 60 years later, the age of "multiculturalism" has failed to heal the historical wounds, which continue to be aggravated by educationally encouraged racialist identity and race-box-ism in social policy.
Kishine WACs Wilkes-Barre Sunday Independent
Sunday, October 13, 1957
Kishine WACs Valley Morning Star
Monday, October 14, 1957
UP Wirephoto of Camp Kishine WAC inspection
MSgt Veva Halouska
4-column uncropped photo (above)
1-column cropped photo (below)

El Paso Herald-Post
Monday, October 14, 1957
Kishine WACs Kishine WACs To enlarge click WACs or Girard
Cincinnati Enquirer
Friday, 11 October 1957
AP Japan double feature
Both the Yokohama WAC detachment story
and the Maebashi Girard shooting story
appeared on same page with photos
of Lt. Wolcott and Sp3 Girard


Kupski case Pacific Stars and Stripes
22 November 1957, page 8
Kupski case Pacific Stars and Stripes
23 November 1957, page 5

Gregory J. Kupski (1957)

Kupski homicide case (1957-1959)

A month after Kishine Barracks got its 15 minutes of fame, basking in the glory of the WAC detachment inspection (above), its name was associated with the sort of incident that U.S. Forces public relations officers in Japan despair -- the killing of a Japanese woman by an American soldier.

The body of Kazue Eikawa (originally misreported as "Hikawa"), 25, was found in a Yokohama alley on the morning of 17 November 1957, a Sunday. She was nude but for the blouse which had been wrapped around her neck, apparently to strangle her. Her panties had been stuffed into her mouth. 23-year-old Specialist 3rd Class Gregory J. Kupski, who was stationed with the Yokohama Troop Command at Kishine Barracks, was charged with killing the Eikawa, who turned out to be the wife of Aviation Machinist's Mate Petty Officer 1st Class Robert L. Wescott, who at the time was stationed at China Lake Naval Air Station in California. Kupski himself was married to a 21-year-old Japanese woman named Utako. The Army determined that Japan had jurisdiction. By December, the prosecutor of Yokohama was indicting Kupski for murder. By 1958 the Yokohama District Court had tried, convicted, and sentenced Kupski to 6 years in prison with hard labor. Shortly after he lost his appeal in 1959, he escaped with another soldier from the stockade at Tachikawa Air Base, where he was being held, but two days later was captured.

Reportage on the Kupski case played out in the daily press like a serialized true crime drama. It followed on the heels of the highly publicized case of 21-year-old Specialist 3rd Class William S. Girard, an infantryman with the 1st Cavalry Division, who early the same year -- on 30 January 1957 -- had shot a woman brass collector on a firing range in Gunma prefecture -- accidentally he claimed, probably truthfully. The victim was Naka Sakai, a 46-year-old wife and mother of 6 children. The question of which country had jurisdiction went all the way to the Supreme Court that spring. By summer Girard was being tried for manslaughter in Maebashi District Court. By the end of the year -- December, 1957, the month after the Kupski case began -- the court had sentenced Girard to 3 years in prison at hard labor but commuted the sentence to 4 years if he behaved himself, and by Christmas he was back home in the United States, with his wife Haru "Candy" Sueyama, who he'd married while waiting to undergo trial. She was 7 years older than Girard and they had known each other before the incident.

See The Girard and Kupski cases: Extraterritoriality and jurisdiction in post-Occupation Japan for detailed reports on both of these cases and others.


Robert Duncan (1960, 1968-1970)

A never ending story

The following story is a pursuit of one man's dream of a reunion. I tell it here to dramatize how not a few people -- not only veterans, but others as well -- get to a point in their life when they wish they could reunite, if only by email, with someone they met in the past for whatever reason -- and for whatever reason parted ways. For the protagonist it is an extremely personal story, and is all the more dramatic because he himself tells it in the "public square" of the wild woolly web.

Robert "Bob" W. Duncan attemped several times in messages he posted to the "106th General Hospital" and "106th Surgical Hospital" unit pages at to contact people he knew at Kishine Barracks.

106th General Hospital

Duncan posted to both the messages and history sections of the unit page for the 106th General Hospital. He repeatedly asked for a roster or log of staff, EMs and officers, who worked on the medical ward on the 2nd floor of Building A of the 106th. At times he expressed an "ASAP" urgency for such a list.

Duncan reported that he first worked in the dispensary at Kishine in 1960 and had come there from Camp Zama Hopsital. He remarked that at the time "Kishine was a R&R center for people in Korea".

He said he had worked at Kishine again, at the 106th General Hospital, from 1968-1970, on the 2nd floor of the medical ward in Building A, under "Cpt. S. Deems" and "my lady" Cpt. Grace L. Wallace". In a number of messages, he stated that he especially wanted information about Cpt. Grace Wallace. In one posting, he said he had sent a message to David Arrowsmith -- "now a full colonel" -- to find "Lorraine Wallace" but noted that he [Arrowsmith] "was no help at all".

The 1 January 1972 edition of US Army Register (Volume II) shows Grace L. Wallace, U.S. Army Nursing Corps, born 7 July 1945, captain, temporary date of rank 24 September 1969, permanent rank 1st lieutenant, date of rank 24 September 1968, basic pay date of entry not recorded.

The 1 January 1972 edition of US Army Register (Volume I) shows David R. Arrowsmith, Army Nursing Corps, born 5 July 1943, captain, temporary date of rank 31 August 1968, permanent rank 1st lieutenant, no date of rank given, and no basic pay entry date given.

In the history section, Duncan repeated some things he had posted in the messages section. But he also wrote that, after leaving Kishine, he was sent to Ft. Ord in California for a short while and then to Viet Nam. He said that in California he had seen a Jim Hooper and also a Cpt. Murtz and her sister, apparently people he had worked with at the 106th.

"106th Surgical Hospital"

Duncan posted similar yet slightly different contributions to the messages and history sections of the "106th Surgical [sic] Hospital" unit page on

Duncan posted the following two items to the messages section.

[ 22 May ] [2009]
Hakaraku Mansion
Hi, I amBob Duncan i lived at hakaraku on the 3rd floor, This was 68-69 and some of 70 Thenthe love of my life left in 69 and i closed up and came back too kishine. Contuned with Karate till i came home. If you know or know of anyone who might know the where aboughts of Cpt. Grace Lorraine Wallace can be found please let me know. BOB Thank you.
Posted by Robert Duncan

[ 5 December ] [2009]
Bob Duncan
New E- Maile address. Let me know if you have or fine any one with INFO. on Cpt Grace Lorraine Wallace she is probley out of the Army. She is a Nurse. I still Love Her.!! Let me know. Bob.
Posted by Robert Duncan

Notice the change in Duncan's email address from to I have dated the above postings [2009] on the basis of the date of the address change noted in one of the Fold3 messages (below).

Duncan repeated "Hakaraku [sic = Hakuraku] Mansion" as a heading in reference to an earlier message by George "Wally" Cox, who also lived there. Cox later referred to the place as "Hakuraku Mansion". The upshot of all bulletin board references to the "mansion" in Hakuraku (白楽) is that it was within walking distance of Kishine Barracks, a number of enlisted men and nurses lived there, and they had some serious parties.

"Manshon" (マンション) is commonly used in names of apartment buildings in Japan. It is also widely used to mean a single condominium unit.

Duncan posted the following two items to the history section.

[ 9 January ] [2009]
106thsurg. hosp.
Was this one time the 106th Gen. Hosp. From Yokohama, Japan Kishine, If so let Me know ASAP. PS. There are some of my friend i have been trying to find, For a long time. And ond i have been in love with for 40 yr's and still am. Sgt. Bob
Posted by Robert Duncan

[ 3 October ] [2009]
My new E-Mail is
If you have any INFO. on any of the staff from the medical ward let me know. Bob Duncan 1302 Dellwood,Ave. Columbus.OH>43227 Thank You. Bob. 1968-1970
Posted by Robert Duncan

Notice the change email address from to I have dated the above postings [2009] on the basis of the date of the address change noted in one of the Fold3 messages (next).

No one responded to Duncan's query as to whether the "106th Surgical Hospital" used to be the 106th General Hospital. His two messages to the history section are the first of only 3, and there are very postings to the messages section. Some of the other contributors posted items to the 106th General Hospital page. One of the contributors, George "Wally" Cox, was a major participant on the "Yokoahama Navy Exchange was where?" forum at, which has more activity concerning Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital than all other bulltetin boards combined. lists 106th Evacuation Hospital (Support Unit), 106th General Hospital (Base/Installation), and 106th Surgical Hospital (Support Unit), but only the 106th General Hospital shows a short list of affiliated members.



Perhaps before, perhaps after the above postings, Duncan sent the following two comments to a 26 August 2009 announcement regarding a forthcoming family history expo in Salt Lake City on the official blog for Fold3.

Robert W Duncan
November 30, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I am trying to find a Army Nurse She was a Capt. Name Grace Lorraine Wallace> Last Known station was Ft. stewart Ga. 1969-70 ward Head nurse. Home town Moble AL.? her 50? She is Cau.5’4″120 Bob Duncan thank you

Robert Duncan
February 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Please help me find her, She mans more to me than life it,s self. Thank you. and old Soldier. Bob.

Fold3 specializes in historical military records, especially related to the Civil War and World War II. The "Comments" column is a standard component of its blog. It is not a venue for social networking, and no one else submitted comments to the family history expo announcement, much less what amounts to a "looking for" post on a people finder sight.


Zaba Search

Duncan addressed even stronger and more direct pleas to "Grace Larraine [sic] Wallace" on Zaba Search, a self-described "People Search. Honestly Free! Search by Name. Find People in the USA. Free People Finder". The year of the following two messages is not clear, but I would guess circa 2009-2010. See grace+wallace on Zaba Search for details.

Messages sent Thursday, February 5 2:34 [2009]
From: Grove City, OH, US
Area Code: 614

I hope you are the one i have been looking for for so long,Were you a nurse in the Army starting in 1967 on a Cpt. the last time i saw her in Japan. Let me know. ASAP. Thank you Bob.

Messages sent Tuesday, August 4 2:19 [2009]
From: Dublin, OH, US
Area Code: 614

Dear Larraine I hope this is you, If you are my Cpt. Nurse USArmy that i have been looking for. For a very long time every sence i came back from V/Nam, So let me know ASAP at twoduncan2 At i miss you with all heart and love you as much as the day we met in1968 Love Bob.

I have dated these Zaba Search messages as [2009] on the basis of the change from to as dated in one of the Fold3 messages (above).


Duncan's profile on states that he served in the army from 1956 to 1978, partly with the "10th Gen. Hosp. Yokohamah Japan".


"Yokohamah" is one of the more interesting odd spellings of Yokohama I have seen. What was Duncan thinking when he wrote the final "a" as "ah"? Intentional or not, what could it mean?

Duncan's messages have full of errors, and at times it's hard to tell if they are typos or misspellings. But adding the "h" to "o" is an unlikely typo. And as a misspelling, it may have linguistic significance.

"Yo-ko-ha-ma" is pronounced roughly "yoh-koh-hah-mah" -- in which the "o" and the "a" are similar to the "o" in "boat" and the "a" in "father". You won't much English-like stressing or destressing of any of the morae, though the pitch will probably rise on "ko" and remain high (or fall on) "ma". So you'll hear something like "yo-KOH-HAH-MAH" (or "yo-KOH-HAH-mah), in which the large letters represent pitch, not stress.

Some English speakers, though, will say "YOH-kuh-HAH-muh" -- with secondary stress on "YOH" and primary stress on "HAH" -- which reduces both the second "o" and the second "a" to the unstressed general purpose English vowel called "schwa" (ə), which is roughly pronounced like the unstressed "a" in "sofa" or "adore". Schwa resembles the vowel called "carot" (ʌ), as represented by the "u" in "cut" and "luck". The difference is that while "carot" is a fully valued vowel in its own right, and capable of bearing stress, "schwa" is the result of destressing (reducing) other vowels.

A good example in English is "photo" -- which is roughly "FOH-toh". In "photograph", though, it often becomes "FOH-tuh-GRAF". Such reductions typically happen in English, which is dominated by syllabic stress, whereas stress plays practically no role in the pronunciation of Japanese morae.

In the spring of 2016, I attempted to reach Duncan at both of his Road Runner addresses, but my mail bounced. When checking Road Runner operations, I found that in 2013 Time-Warner Cable acquired Insight, and Insight customers were required to change their domain addresses to addresses. But all attempts to combine Duncan's Road Runner email handles with bounced.

Top shows numerous Robert W. Duncans who, agewise, could be Kishine's Bob Duncan. But only one was associated with the Columbus, Ohio street address and ZIP code Duncan disclosed in one of his "106th Surgical Hospital" postings.

Kishine's Robert W. Duncan was born on 23 July 1938. He was therefore about 18 when he enlisted in the Army in 1956, and about 40 when he retired in 1978 after about 22 years in the service. Some other data could be related to the same Robert W. Duncan, but I can't make definite connections.

The are also many Grace Wallaces and some Grace L. Wallaces, but all I could find that I could positively relate with the woman Duncan appears to be referring to was the data I cited above from the 1972 US Army Register.

In one of his postings, Duncan writes "Wallace/Dacid" as though "Dacid" might have been Grace's married name. But even "David" ("v" is next to "c") and "Davis" ("s" is next to "d") yield no one that would match Cpt. Grace L. Wallace's 7 July 1945 birthday or anything else close to the person Duncan is looking for.

So there it is. A never ending story, for me.

Perhaps Duncan found her. I will keep looking for both of them.

I might even try to reach Duncan by snail mail.


Larry Rollyson and Richard Greene (1961)

Cook loses head? At Kishine Barracks in Korea?

Cook on way to Korea through Kishine keeps head

Both of the following tales, told by third parties, are about cooks -- one who lost his head at Kishine Barracks in Korea, the other who lost kept his head at Kishine Barracks on his way to Korea -- in 1961.

I'm reminded of a man who, digging in his garden, unearthed a head and brought it to the lost and found department at the local police station, thinking he might get a reward. The officer on duty told him he probably wouldn't, since it was not unlikely that the person who lost it will come looking for it.

But back to the stories about Kishine.

Cook loses head? At Kishine Barracks in Korea?

Larry Rollyson, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, knows the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon. In 2004, he had an opportunity to compare a hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast that year with a tyhpoon he witnessed at Kishine Barracks, in Korea or Japan, wherever it was. The following is cut and pasted from the Daily Nonpareil at Council Bluffs.

Bluffs man weathers numerous storms

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

By Tom McMahon

Images of motorists creeping along Interstate 275 to escape Hurricane Charley brought back memories of the highway and the storms to Larry Rollyson. "We called that highway the "car strangled spanner," joked Rollyson, noting traffic was snarled even when the weather was good. Rollyson said he's seen his share of tropical storms -- hurricanes that hit both Florida coasts, a typhoon that decapitated a man in Korea, and Hurricane Camille, one of the worst storms to ever hit the Gulf Coast.

Images of motorists creeping along Interstate 275 to escape Hurricane Charley brought back memories of the highway and the storms to Larry Rollyson.

"We called that highway the "car strangled spanner," joked Rollyson, noting traffic was snarled even when the weather was good.

Rollyson said he's seen his share of tropical storms -- hurricanes that hit both Florida coasts, a typhoon that decapitated a man in Korea, and Hurricane Camille, one of the worst storms to ever hit the Gulf Coast.

The native West Virginian, who now lives in Council Bluffs, said he likes storms and ranks tornadoes as the worst.

"They do a lot worse damage than hurricanes," he said. "I think a lot of the damage from hurricanes comes from tornadoes it spawns."

While the 67-year-old has never been harmed in a storm, he has seen his share of destruction. "My most vivid memory is seeing a man beheaded," Rollyson said.

That happened in 1961, when he was stationed in Korea. He said he was at the Kashini Barracks when a typhoon hit.

"We were digging up wooden sign posts to keep them from being thrown around. I was digging and looked up. A sudden gust of wind tore the roof off a lean-to shed," Rollyson said. "Two guys in white, I think they were cooks, were running, and I saw the roof slice one of their head's off."

Cook on way to Korea through Kishine keeps head

U.S. Army veteran Rich Greene blogged the following early experience at Kishine Barracks before it became a hospital. In 1960 he had trained at Fort Ord in Monterey in California, as a member of the Army California National Guard in San Francisco. In October 1961 he enlisted as a cook, hoping to go to Japan, but the Army sent him to Korea instead, though via Japan, where he stayed at Kishine Barracks for a week.

Greene's journey began from Travis Air Force Base in California, with stopovers at Hickham Field in Honolulu, and Wake Island.

Our next and final stop this trip was Tachikawa AFB Japan, outside Tokyo. . . .

I was taken to Kishini Barracks in Yokohama until a flight could be arranged for further air transportation to Korea. I wasn't looking forward to it. So I decided I would make the best of it. It was close to Christmas and I had a few bucks on me. Japan was el cheapo back then. I bought some presents and shipped them via air mail back to the States. I was at Kishini Barracks for a little over a week. I was taken back to Tachikawa AFB and boarded a double decker aircraft -- a C-124 nicknamed "Old Shakey" because of it's rough ride. Still no jets yet. After a few hours we landed at Kimpo AFB just outside of Seoul Korea. Everything looked like the war was just over. Muddy streets, blown away buildings, and bullet holes everywhere. . . .

Vietnam wounded at Kishine Barracks hospital in spring 1964?

Speaking of tales, this one just came in from someone who represents himself as a disabled Vietnam vet, posting the following on message on a Korean War veteran bulletin board on behalf of a friend of his who he claims was also wounded in Vietnam but is having trouble proving his claim to the Veterans Administration. I have deleted some of the personal information from the original message, which was posted on at 304th Signal Battalion (Operations, Page 3) on 14 April 2006.


Service or Relationship: FRIEND OF VETERAN

Comments: He has gone to VA for help but they keep turning him down saying there is no proof that he was ever in Vietnam. His records were part of thos burnt in 1973. I've seen his wounds, and I know there real. Does anyone remember being sent with Whitney from Co A, 304th to the philippines and Vietnam? He operated the large generators and those that went tdy worked with the advance party of 1st Cav and the Marines. If you know him, please give him a call at [ phone number of friend ]

Thank you
[ Name of poster ], Disabled Vietnam Vet

Keywords: Does anyone remember a [ name of friend ] from Idaho who served with Co A 304 Signal at Camp Conner in 1963-64 then went TDY to the Philipines and from there to Vietnam. He was severely wounded by a mortar round in March 1964. He woke up aboard the USS Hope Hospital Ship and then spent two months in the hospital at Kashini Barracks, Japan. From their he was shipped back to the states (Fort Carson) and finally discharded.

Where was Kishine Barracks?

At least one report about someone who passed through Kishine Barracks has placed the facility in Korea (Tom McMahon's report about Larry Rollyson, above). Most people who had been there, however, remember it as being in Yokohama. A few have located it in Tokyo, but no has associated the "Kishine Hospital Base" with such an oddly ordered list of historical events as James Freeman (b1956) has done in the following excerpt from My LIfe [sic] in Delightful Decades / A Picaresque Journey Around the Globe with Little to Not-so Little Jimmy Freeman, which he posted 15 January 2013 (0 comments as of 14 March 2016). Freeman describes himself as "The son of an Army Medical Officer ["Cln. James Hedges Freeman" (b1931, Diagnostic Radiologist)] in Med School at MaGill [sic] before and after Korea and a erudite Government Service English Teacher" and was therefore an "Army brat" -- as children of such families, who move with their families from post to post, and rarely stay anywhere long enough to set down roots, commonly call themselves.

We [my began to move every 13 months, courtesy of Uncle Sam, my Mom teaching a new group of third graders every September (including me -- sorry FERPA [Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act]); my Dad a new group of Intern MD.s: Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas; Walter Reed, D.C.; Letterman at Presidio (before the Zodiac); Kishine Hospital Base, Tokyo, Japan before, during and after the Tet offensive (30 January 1968) and during the Pueblo "Incident;" [23 January - 18 December 1968] . . .


Jim Szabo (1962)

Stayed at Kishine during a week of R&R from Korea

The photo, showing the entrance to Kishine Barracks, where an American soldier is talking with a Japanese lady -- I was both surprised and honored to see it, for I was the one who took that picture. If the exact day is not important, it was in February 1962. I am not seeking any compensation for it. Glad to help. I stayed there on R&R from Korea, in one of the buildings called "R&R Hotel" (I have a picture of it).
I thought I would clarify the date of that photo. Best regards, JS

This is the message I received on 29 January 2016 from Jim Szabo through the Contact Form on my website, informing me that he had taken the photograph of the front gate of Kishine Barracks that I have shown at the top of the Kishine Barracks webpage. The photo was the earliest I had been able to find on the Internet, where it was undated and unattributed. I had provisionally dated it "nlt 1965" as it had to have been taken before the arrival of the 106th General Hospital in December 1965. Jim informed me that he had taken it in February 1962 while on R&R from Korea.

Jim and I struck up an exchange of stories about not only Kishine but also our other military experiences and civilian life. He sent me scans of many of the photographs he took during his 2-year stint as a draftee from 1960-1962. Before being drafted, he had working in printing, and he returned to the same job after getting out. He then completed courses at a drafting school and worked until his retirement in 2002 as a drafter and designer.

We talked a lot about printing and drafting. When I was growing up in San Francisco, I picked up an interest in printing from the father of an older boy in the neighborhood who had a printshop in his basement. I had took print shop in the 8th grade at A.P. Gianinni Junior HIgh School in San Francisco, and then worked in a printshop in Nevada City during the summer of 1955 after I graduated from the 8th grade at Union Hill Elementary School near (now in) Grass Valley. I had also studied drafting in high school and college and worked as a drafter in the design department at San Francisco Naval Shipyard during part of 1962 -- the year Jim passed through Kishine. We swapped snapshots of drafting equipment we have kept over the years.

Over a period of several weeks, Jim fed me running accounts of his life in the Army while emailing me related photographs. He wrote clearly, and the sheer commonality of his exerpiences make them interesting. Here I have taken the liberty to cite passages selected from several of his email communications.

29 January 2016

"The great thrill was to eat from a real plate"
Entrance to Kishine Barracks from southwest
Taken February 1962 by Jim Szabo while on R&R from Korea
buildings behind guard post are movie theater and gymnasium
Entrance Crop of scan of original print in Szabo's album Entrance Enhanced copy which Szabo posted on Webshots

. . . I had a Petri 7 camera, which was easily available in the PX in Korea, cost a few cents under $25.00
    I got to Korea in June 1961 and got back to the states in July 1962. Ship's name both ways was the U.S.S. Mann.
    I must admit, after all these years I have but faint recollection of Kishine Barracks. About 6 of us were there on R&R, not even from the same unit. We flew from Kimpo air base and landed at Tachikawa air base. Vaguely remember how we actually got to Kishine. For lodging, we had to pay -- if I remember right, $1.50 for the first night and 50 cents afterwards per night. Our R&R started and ended in Kishine, regardless how long it took to get there and return to Korea -- but that's an other story.
    In the main building (I think, not sure) was a desk with an American lady. You could sign up for a daily sightseeing bus tour, which I did almost every day, so I got to see quite a bit. Other than the availability of these bus tours, I am not aware of any other activities. -- Another thing I remember, right outside the gate was a major road, where you could catch a bus and ride it to the railway station. I did go to Tokyo a couple of times. Several nights a few of us used to go (somewhere) downtown to a place called American Peanuts Club (had to specify "American"???) to drink beer and listen to all types of live band...
    In Kishine, there also was a restaurant, where you could eat breakfast and dinner for very reasonable price. The great thrill was to eat from a real plate -- not a tray -- on a table covered with a table cloth. At night there was live entertainment (see photo #5)
    I remember, I posted the entrance photo on Webshots, that is how it was most likely obtained. With the computer I could straighten it out and enhence it. Attached here you can see as it is...
    On photo #2 R&R "hotel", I don't know if there were other buildings designated as such. On the picture (rt. side) are a couple of signs, but looks like I didn't think it was important to photograph them.
    #3 Photo is the back of it with some information.
    #4 Photo shows yours truly, with the Japanese flag. As you can tell, I was from the 1st Cavalry Division.

2 February 2016

"the pots and pans hanging from the ceiling started to rattle"

. . . We slept there [at Kishine] on cots, as late as we wanted and did not have to make it up after we got up. Nobody came to inspect anything...
    When we first arrived there -- 5 or 6 of us -- we were lead to the mess hall (I could not locate it on the aerial photo), but remember, that the pots and pans hanging from the ceiling started to rattle. We didn't know what to make of it. The cooks told us, it was nothing, just mild earthquake/tremor, normal here...
    We hardly went there for breakfast, because the serving time was too early, besides that, we had to pay (25 cents) anyway... We found out soon we could eat at the EM club (where the floor show was at night) for just a little more. Couldn't locate that building either.
    If I now think back, I find it amazing how many things I don't remember... On at least 2 occasions I caught the bus at or near the gate to go to the Yokohama train station... I could not tell you the color of the bus, or approx. how long it took to get there or what the station looked like... One thing I do remember; on coming back from Tokyo, at the Yokohama train station I wanted to get on the bus to ride it back to Kishine... One big problem: on every bus the destination was written in Japanese. Somebody (no longer remember, man or woman or who) but was kind enough with some little English to guide me on the correct bus.

2 February 2016

Korea 1st Cav PFC Jim Szabo on Ginza in dress greens
"didn't notice any hostility or resentment"
Ginza Ginza as it looked in February 1962
Photographs compliments of Jim Szabo
Above Jim Szabo on Ginza street
Right Streetcar on Ginza street

STREETCARS vanished from Ginza and neighboring areas in 1971 or so. The city used to be a huge tangle of tracks, and today there are only a couple of very short stretches still in service. Everything was replaced by buses. Some people would like to see streetcars return to Ginza if for no other reason than as an attraction for Japanese and foreign tourists alike.

THE MORINAGA GLOBE on the top of a building in Ginza 5-chome. Ginza 4-chome is often considered the heart of Ginza. The Morinaga building was close to it and also attracted a lot of attention. The neon globe existed from 1953 to 1983 and underwent several face liftings. The globe in Jim Szabo's photo shows 森永 ("Morinaga" the name of the company) on the left. The sign reads from there to the left, around the back of the globe, and you can see the last part of the チョコレット ("chokoretto") on the right. The company is still one of the major producers of chocolate bars and caramel candy. Morinaga had outdoor advertising everywhere, and I have sometimes been able to roughly date a photograph on the basis of a Morinaga sign. There are numerous websites dedicated to such advertising.

. . . When we got our orders for Korea, we were told no civilian clothes were allowed to be taken there. That applied to officers as well. The reason behind it, as I found out later, that due to the sanitary -- or lack of it -- conditions there, all clothing had to be impregnated with some sort of pesticide (quartermaster laundry). The attire was relaxed, fatigue uniform or summer uniform without tie, in winter OD shirt and pants when go on local pass (=off post). There were nothing but primitive villages and rice paddies all around us. The greens we wore a few times, and when we got a chance to go on an occasional 3-day pass to Seoul.
    So, when I went to Japan, I didn't think it would make sense for the short time to get civilian clothes, which would be of no use once I get back to Korea...
    Back in the States, civilian clothes were widely allowed off base. But if you travelled, using public transportation, in order to get half-price ticket, you had to be in uniform.
    In Japan, the attached pictures I took, show, that we all moved about in uniform, at least, seemingly I didn't notice any hostility or resentment wherever we went.
    Our first taste of Tokyo was from Kishine, by Service Club bus as we were taken to the main sites. If I recall correctly, our first stop was the before mentioned USO [United Service Organizations] on Ginza. That is where i picked up that [1941-1961 USO 20th anniversary] sheet as a souvenir. Also, a few of us had lunch at one of the magnificent department stores across from there. A scene still stands in my mind: at the table next to us sat a Japanese lady dressed in kimono, ceremoniously eating soup out of a bowl with chop sticks -- the solids of course -- drinking the liquid, while her son, dressed in polo shirt and shorts, eating with gusto -- what else -- spaghetti and meat balls -- east meets west... I have more pictures, here I just want to show how everybody was attired. -- When you got to Japan, while the Vietnam war was going on, probably did not have the opportunity to do this kind of sightseeing, but most likely recognize the places shown here.

4 February 2016

USO -- "a piece of home"

. . . the USO [souvenir] sheet will explain it all. The place was there on Ginza for all servicemen to drop in, find a piece "of home", cup of coffee, donut, etc.; get any kind of help about the customs, directions, answers to what is where...

4 February 2016

Draft notice and training
"Never volunteer for anything"

. . . It was sometime in 1959 in New Jersey, that I registered with the local Selective Service...
    The next time I heard from them, was in June 1960 -- it said GREETINGS in a large envelope... in other words, I got drafted, which meant 2 years. If that was "bad" news, the good news was, that there was PEACE all over the world...
    I had to report for induction on July 6, 1960; given the ETS as July 5, 1962. How good this "July 5" was going to affect me, I'll return at a later date.
    A bus took us (inductees) to Newark, NJ. After the usual procedures we were driven to Fort Dix, NJ. Stayed there one week and from the adjacent McGuire Air Force base we were flown to Pope Air Force base in North Carolina, then on to Fort Bragg, next door. -- One thing I remember, as a MSG. gave us the orientation speech, he concluded with the advice: Never volunteer for anything...
    Fort Bragg -- see 1st picture, I'm on the left. Next picture -- on guard duty, New Years Day, 1961.
    April 1961, so many of us got our orders for Korea... With it came an automatic 30 days leave time, plus 13 days travel time, to Oakland Army Terminal, California. To get there, was left to each individual, 6 cents a mile, amounted to nearly $200.00; was more than enough to get there by May 23rd whatever way one chose. My travel agent put me on a non-stop jet the evening before (3rd picture, as I was leaving for New York -- now JFK -- airport). Slept in San Francisco and the next morning took a bus to Oakland and a taxi to the Army Terminal. Signed in one hour before the designated reporting in time...
    During your time (=Vietnam), I think troops were flown there; however, we traveled by troop ship. There were 4 of them: the Sultan, Gaffy, Breckenridge and the Mann. I got on the Mann...

5 February 2016

"pictures not so great are better than no pictures"

. . .    In Oakland, I was with a former buddy, we knew each other from Fort Bragg; so we hung out together. Stayed in the Army Terminal for about a week, until a shipload of troops came together. Whenever we could, almost daily, went over to San Francisco and roamed around.
    On or around Memorial Day was, when we shipped out. The attached first picture will show it. -- Yes, I always had an interest in photography. Took a cheap camara with me, not knowing if it would break or get stolen... I am glad I did, because, pictures not so great are better than no pictures.

7 February 2016

"USS Off-Limits"

. . .So, I arrived in Korea on June 17, 1961; took some 18-19 days... Looking back, compared to the Vietnam situation, there was no urgency, the ship carried -- forgot the exact or approx. numbers -- a couple of thousands, if not three -- soldiers. Cheap, compared to who knows how many flights it would have taken...
    Back to the date; my ETS was July 5, 1962. So, they had to get me back by that time, the 13 month tour of duty was tight, to say the least. Then came, the unforseen [sic=unforeseen] Berlin Crisis. It stated, that anybody, whose ETS ends on or before June 30, will be extended by 3 months! I missed it by 5 days -- lucky or what! So, I left the same guys there, who were already there, when I got there. I didn't get on the May 30, 1962 boat, due to a technicality of 1 day, but I got on the very next one on June 10, 1962, which happened to be the USS Mann again...

What do soldiers do on a transport ship? I've heard that they are not the most pleasant ways to travel.

    Well, going... As I mentioned, we picked up some 200 sailors in San Diego. But before that, we took on a whole bunch of dependents to be taken to Hawaii, I think. Quite a few of them had pets (dogs). A portion of the deck was reserved for them, where the troops couldn't go -- caused some resentment... Among us, the ship was renamed: USS Off-Limits... To keep us occupied, a large number of us were assigned to the "sweeping detail". Whenever we would relax on the deck, came the call over the loudspeaker -- "Sweepers, man your broom, clean sweepdown about the deck..." -- There was really nothing to sweep, because the constant, everpresent breeze would blow everything off, but, we had to go through the motion, anyway...

    It looks like you might be writing a personal history?
    I often hear, those who were in the bloody war, don't like to, want to talk about it...
    For me, it was far from that, looking back at it as a diversion, experience, that taken, as I did, opened up new horizons... Glad I did it, as I was asked and grateful I came out of it unscathed...
    You wrote a lengthy essay about Kishine, so why not me...?
    Tell you about the return shipboard experiences next time.

For now, a few pictures already from Korea:

1. Arriving at Inchon. The ship dropped anchor way out, because of the shallow waters. Landing crafts brought us ashore to endless lines of trucks, which took us to a place called Ascom City, which was an orientation camp. From there we moved by train to a camp called 15th Administration Company. It processed incoming or outgoing troops. It was there, that I was sent to the 1st Cavalry Division, more precisely, B-Battery, 31st Field Artillery.

[ . . . ]

10 February 2016

"Okinawa was not even mentioned"
"{Korea] the land God forgot"

. . . Out of the 51 actual weeks I spent in Korea (arrived June 17, 1961. left June 10, 1962) there were only 2 of us, who went on R&R; not even together. This one guy went before me, he may have given me the idea to go. Asked a few guys if they would be interested, but the general answer was something like, no, I want to save my money... It was different earlier, but by my time, it counted against your leave time/furlough. So, when requested, they would give it to you, without any problem, barring some emergency, like outbreak of hostilities. As soon I returned to the States, my time was up anyway and would be separated.
    What I don't remember now, if the R&R was for one week or 10 days... By the way, Japan was the only place available, which suited me fine. Okinawa was not even mentioned at all.
    Anyway, I got the papers, and someone drove me to the earlier mentioned 15th Administration Company. They were between incoming and outgoing troops, the place was empty, so I could pick my barrack or bunk as pleased. They told me, someone would drive me out to Kimpo Air Base the next morning. Sure enough, a big Army bus came, just for me. At the Air Base I met others bound for Japan. We were told right away, we had the lowest priority on the forthcoming flights, so we should check each time if space was available. We did not care, because the R&R would not start, until checked in a Kishine. Played ping-pong, pool, whatever, ate at the mess hall...
    At the end of the day it came to be known, that there would be no more flights till tomorrow. I don't know what the others did, but I took an Army bus and went to Seoul to the USO. There I could rent a cot, had hot showers and slept there. Next morning back to Kimpo by Army bus and the routine repeated. Sometime in the afternoon we got on a flight and flew to Tachikawa Air Force Base. I lost track of how the 4-5 of us continued from there to Kishine. Probably train and bus... Checked in at the orderly room, papers were signed, dated, stamped and then the R&R began...
    Must have spent a minimum 7 days in Kishine, possible a day or two more, but not sure...
    When the time was up, same orderly room, date, etc. No recollection how we made it back to Tachikawa. What I remember, the plane was a cargo plane. Gave us a wax ball, which we had to stuff in the ear to shut out the noise. Took off in the afternoon, and a few hours later, Korea became visible from the air... Instead of continuing the descent, we kept turning around as if going back. An Air Force sergeant came by and told us, that the plane had radio problem, couldn't transmit to ground station and had to go back to Tachikawa. -- We were issued blankets, etc. and spent the night there. The next day -- don't remember if it was a same plane or not -- started the run for it, but couldn't take off the ground. Back to the barracks and wait. We were not in a hurry, anyway. Don't remember when, same day or next, finally we were on the way. Landed in Korea, but can't recall the details from there. Everything was in order, the papers and getting to my compound. -- Some adventure, but made it safely closer to the time to leave Korea -- as the saying was, "the land, God forgot"...
    Interesting, or what?

12 February 2016

"Yasukuni Shrine -- by chance"

. . . Yasukuni Shrine -- I got there by chance, without intending to go there. I had this Petri7 camera, which I bought in the PX in Korea. While I was in Japan, something went wrong with it, couldn't take any more pictures... which was a disaster! Asked the lady at Kishine who assisted R&R guys, if there would be a place nearby, where it could be repaired. I remembered, there was the address of the manufacturer inside the rear cover and showed it to her. There was something like "Ichigaya...". She told me to go there, knew where it was. Wrote it down what transportation (? don't remember) to take. She assured me it was easy to find. So I went there, found it without any problem. Talked to a gentleman in the lobby, saw what the problem was and actually apologized, that it would take "at least an hour" to fix it. Almost laughable... So, I walked around in the vicinity and saw a tall statue. I thought when the camera was done, I take a closer look of it. The camera was repaired without any charge and walked over to that statue; not knowing who it was (Omura who???). As I got closer I saw more and more, great opportunity to take pictures... So this is how I visited the place and glad I did...     I did hear something about the controversy not too long ago, involving Gen. Tojo, but nowadays there is controversy about anything and everything... The world got to be a crazy place.

...transportation between Kishine and Tachikawa was by military bus... olive drab Army vehicle.

    The same in Korea; from 15th Admin. Co. to Kimpo, from Kimpo back to Seoul, etc.

[ . . .]

So you got out of the Army after a 2-year term as a draftee, which left 4 years of reserve obligation...

    Correct. The following year, we draftees had to put in 2 weeks of reserve training. From my area they assigned us to a National Guard unit from Brooklyn (a borough of New York City) and had to go up to upstate New York, near the Canadian border. The whole thing was a waste, because they did not need us and didn't know what to do with us... After the 2 yrs. active duty came 2 yrs. of "ready reserve", which included the Cuban missile crisis (but did not affect me), and 2 yrs. of "stand-by reserve"... Got my full discharge in 1966.
    Worked with a couple of guys in the '70s who served in Vietnam, but didn't talk about it.
    Prior to getting drafted I worked in a printing shop (composing room), business forms... When returned from the Army, they had to give my job back. Shortly after, I went to drafting school at night for 2 yrs., got a job and worked as a draftsman/designer (3 different companies) till I retired in 2002.

[ . . . ]


Ellen Kruger Ellen Kruger
Click the above summary of the decision to read all four pages of the deliberation
(Composited from screen captures of digitized scans viewed on

Ellen M. Kruger (1965)

Tachikawa Air Force officer in per diem dispute

Life at Kishine Barracks did not begin with the arrival of the 106th General Hospital. And long after its arrival, some matters concerning Kishine Barracks before its arrival continued to occupy military and government bureaucrats.

While the 106th General Hospital was busy treating a steadily increasing stream of wounded soldiers from battlefields in Vietnam, comptrollers armed with regulations and precedents were fighting over whether to pay a Tachikawa Air Force officer per diem for the two weeks she attended a course of instruction at Kishine Barracks.

The triviality of this matter is all the more remarkable because evidence of its existence is preserved in the following ream-length official report for fiscal year 1967, freely and immediately perusable by anyone with access to the Internet, thanks to Google Books.

United States, General Accounting Office
Decisions of the Comptroller General of the United States
Volume 47: July 1, 1967 to June 30, 1968
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1969
xxvii, 959 pages, digitization

"addition subsistence expenses incurred incident to
required absense from duty station on official business"

From 16 August to 3 September 1965 -- 4 months before the arrival of the 106th General Hospital from Ft. Bliss -- Air Force Captain Ellen M. Kruger attended a 14-day course of instruction at Kishine Barracks. On 23 August she got written orders confirming the oral orders she recieved on 15 August.

Shortly after she completed the course, Kruger submitted a request for per diem. The request stated that on 16 August she left Tachikawa at 5:00 a.m. and arrived at Kishine at 6:45 a.m., and on 3 September she left Kishine at 5:00 p.m. and arrived at Tachikawa at 7:15 p.m. Both trips were made using government transportation.

Kruger's request was denied, based on 1954 and 1957 precedents which held that per diem was not payable for temporary duty at other stations within the area that included Tachikawa and Kishine. On 21 October 1965 she appealed on grounds that there was no direct transportation between Tachikawa and Kishine. The driving times in 1965 were double those in 1954, and daily commuting on public transportation was also out of the question considering the time she also needed to prepare for her classes.

A formal request to the General Accounting Office for a decision on Kruger's per diem request appears to have been initiated on 13 June 1966. And on 27 August 1967 the Comptroller General upheld the original denial.

Entirely missing from the report is an accounting for the "normal transportation and subsistence expenses" that Kruger supposedly incurred during the period she was at Kishine. She was conveyed to Kishine, and returned to Tachikawa, on government transportation. Presumably she was billeted and messed at Kishine and did not have to room and board on the economy.


Stuhl 1 Stuhl 2
Stuhl 3 Stuhl 4
Click on photos to enlarge
Sp5 Harvey Stuhl at work
Doing hematology on different occasions (upper left and right)
Doing blood chemistry (while smoking) on another occasion (lower left)
Needling Sgt. Price in the chemistry section (lower right)
1966 photographs by Bill Wetherall

All of the above photos show the first incarnation of the path lab, as we provisionally set it up in Building B before moving to the small building between B and C. The furnishings were a mix of what we uncrated with the field equipment, and whatever we could scrounge up around Kishine Barracks in competition with everyone else.

The back wall in the lower-right photo is lined with shelves of clean glassware. The shelves were drapped with sheets to protect the glassware from dust. In the meantime, the small building beside Building B was being readied with stainless steel counters with plenty of electrical outlets and all the other amenities of a "proper" laboratory. The shiny equipment and glass enclosed shelves didn't improve the quality of the lab work, but it helped create the illusion that the lab was clean.

The glassware was washed, dried, and shelved by Kobayashi Tatsuji.
See photo of Kobayashi working at the counter by these shelves.

Harvey Stuhl (1965-1966)

A retirement cut short

Harvey Stuhl was the first of the original complement of lab techs at the 106th General Hospital to leave. To the best of my memory, I was the second.

Harvey was in his 2nd enlistment and couldn't wait to get to Vietnam. I couldn't wait for my ETS (Expiration Term of Service).

I had more formal science education, but he had more experience in lab work, and he was better and more versatile than all three of the senior NCOs who outranked him, who were not very familiar with bacteriology.

Unlike the NCOs and most of the other lab techs, Harvey had worked quite a bit in bacteriology, as I had. We both aspired to be part of the bacteriology section, and it fell to us to help Lt. Terry, the resident bacteriologist, set up the section and get it running. I was also involved in setting up chemistry and histology, but after all the sections were up and running, I settled into bacteriology with Harvey, and so we became both co-workers and rivals.

Harvey and I were opposites in many ways. We had little in common but generally got along. The attention to neatness I had learned from my mother had been sharpened by Janet Baker, the bacteriologist at the Sixth U.S. Army Medical Laboratory at Ft. Baker (below), who taught me all I knew about diagnostic bacteriology, and had deeply instilled in me the need to be very careful and meticulous in the handling of contaminated cultural media. I didn't smoke, and while I didn't particularly like smoking, I wasn't opposed to other people smoking -- except in the lab. Harvey was more relaxed about keeping things clean and tidy, and he thought it was okay to smoke wherever he worked in the lab, including the bacteriology section.

Having little in common -- outside our shared 106th destinies and lab assignments -- did not stop us from having conversations. He told me lots of stories about his adventures in life, and possibly about his family, although frankly I can't remember anything.

All I recall about his family background, from my own memory, was that he was Jewish but didn't appear to be living a religiously Jewish life.

While I literally lived in and out of the lab -- I had a bed and locker there -- Harvey spent almost all of his free time off base. He had girl friends, and I met one of them. By this I don't mean that he couldn't have made it in the outside world. It just seemed to me that he liked the opportunities of military batchelorhood in exotic places. Even in Japan, though, he was restless to leave for something more exciting, and as I recall he requested to be sent to Vietnam and left shortly before I did.

Harvey was the only other lab tech who both knew enough about bacteriology, and had enough interest, to help set up the bacti section. In this respect we became rivals, but he had more experience, and the need for someone to do parisitology, which was also Lt. Terry's bailiwick, kept Harvey and I from arguing too much over territory. He became the main bacti technician, and I became the sole parisitology technician who sometimes lent a hand in bacteriology, which shared the same wing.

Harvy Stuhl

I didn't socialize much at Kishine, and my closest friends were not lab techs. Among the lab techs, though, I was closest to Harvey, most likely because we worked together and, while having little in common and sometimes disagreeing about lab matters, we were congenial. He immediately cultivated a taste for off-base entertainment in clubs, and insisted on taking me to the Italian Gardens, a club in Honmoku. By the summer of 1966, he had set up a girl friend in a room in a building just a few doors down a side street off the main street by the gate. One particularly hot day, he prevailed on me to bring her some ice. He said he couldn't bring it to her himself because he was on duty, and I had the day off. The room was not an apartment of the kind that is common today, with private facilties, but was entered by a door off a common hall with shared washing and toilet facilities. The residents -- students, store clerks, laborers, anyone -- bathed in public baths, which were then ubiquitous but are now rare, as today even the smallest apartments have a bath.

Stuhl's parents

The 1940 federal census shows Paul Stuhl, 29, an alien born in Romania, married to Clara, 25, a naturalized citizen born in Romania. They have no children, and he is a candy salesman.

A Port of Niagara Falls, New York, manifest card dated 8 May 1943 shows Paul Stuhl crossing into the United States from Niagara Falls in Canada. His was born on "3/27/11" [sic = 3/25/11] at "Baia Sprie, Roumania". His "Race" is "Hebrew" and his "Nationality" is "Roumania". He had been in the United States from April 1930 to a date in April 1943, most recently in Pennsylvania. His mother, Regina Stuhl, was in Pennsylvania. He was a salesman, and was 5 ft 7 in tall, had a fair complexion, black hair, and hazel eyes, and wore glasses. In April, a month before, he had been pre-examined [for military induction] in Pittsburg, Pensylvania, pursuant to an authoriziation dated in March. He was said to hold an "Affidavit as to Identity and Nationality dated 11/24/41" and a letter from the American Consul in Niagara Falls, Canada, testifying that his papers were in order. So Paul Stuhl appears to have made a brief trip to Canada after his pre-examination [physical], and was returning to Pennsylvania, where he would be soon be inducted.

According to an application to the Commonweath of Pennsylvania, World War II Veterans' Compensation Bureau, dated in 1950, Paul Stuhl was born in Felso Banya, Hungary, on 25 March 1911 (which happens to have been my own father's birthday in Ames, Iowa). The application was for compensation for service between 7 December 1941 and 2 March 1946, which brackets the official period of World War II in the United States. Paul Stuhl claimed 23 months of domestic service and 6 months of foreign service in the U.S. Army from July 1943 to November 1945. His foreign service was from 24 May 1945 to 19 November 1945. The record states that he was awarded $320 ($230 for the domestic service, $90 for the foreign service).

The 1950 compensation application lists Paul Stuhl's wife Silvia Stuhl, his children Harvey A. Stuhl, 6, and Pamla F. Stuhl, 2 1/2, and his mother Regina Stuhl. His father is deceased. "Pamla" is apparently "Pamela" (later Eisen). Paul and Silvia had two more children, Janice (later Brody) and Este (later Summers).

Clara (nee Rosenfield) in the 1940 census was Paul's first wife. Sylvia (nee Kaplan), his second wife, was Harvey's step-mother, the three girls born between Paul and Silvia were his step-sisters.

Clara's death certificate shows she died in the hospital of peritonitis, on 31 December 1943, 4 days after giving birth to Harvey by Ceasarian section.

There is conflict in the names of the countries and localities of birth. Romania was part of Hungary between 1940 and 1944. Felso Banya is the Hungarian name of the town known in Romanian as Baia Sprie and in German as Mittelstadt.

Fragments of data on Harvey's life suggest the following biography.

Harvey Stuhl's biographical chronology (1943-1989)
27 Dec 1943 Born Harvey Alan Stuhl in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
31 Dec 1962 Harvey's mother dies of fulminating peritonitis following elective Cesarean section without labor. Her death certificate states that she was born in Russia on 12 April 1916 to Osca Rosenfield (father) and Manuel Zelmachvaleg (mother). JewishGen data, based on synagogue records, states that her Hebrew name is Chiyah Rivha bat Asher, and that she is buried at B'nai Israel Cemetery in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania.
6 Jun 1962 Enlistment in U.S. Army begins
Fall 1965 106th General Hospital, Ft. Bliss, El Paso, Texas
Dec 1965 106th General Hospital, Kishine Barracks, Yokohama, Japan
Specialist 5 (SP5, E-5)
Summer 1966 Left 106th General Hospital for tour of duty in Vietnam
Specialist 5 (SP5, E-5)
Summer 1967 Presumed end of 1-year tour in Vietnam
24 Nov 1967 Married Ann Stuhl
1977 Resided in San Antonio, Texas [stationed at Ft. Sam Houston]
1 Mar 1980 Step-mother Silvia (Kaplan) Stuhl (b1922) dies, age 58.
Buried in Tree of Life Memorial Park in Pittsburg
15 Dec 1981 Father Paul Stuhl dies, age 70.
Buried in Tree of Life Memorial Park in Pittsburg
30 Jun 1982 Released from U.S. Army (retirement after 20 years of service)
Rank at time of retirement apparently Sergeant First Class (SFC, E-7)
A typical 20-year NCO rank that would draw a subsistence-level pension
9 June 1983 Divorced from Ann Stuhl (1 child)
1988 Resided in San Antonio, Texas
1977 Resided in Universal City, Texas
9 Jul 1989 Harvey Stuhl dies, age 45
14 Jul 1989 Interred in Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, Sec 16 Site 689
Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio (Circa 2003)
Find a Grave photo by DonZas
Harvy Stuhl Harvey Stuhl's monument
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, May 2018
Find a Grave photo by Kurt Kneeland

Stuhl's death

The mystery begins here. A death at age 90 or 80 is taken as a matter of course. Knowing the cause of death becomes less important than knowing that death came peacefully.

Curiosity about someone's cause of death increases the younger they die. Deaths at 70 or 60 are not today as common as they were a century ago, and so people are more curious about their cause. A death at 50 or 40, though, is today considered too young, and even people who didn't know the deseased are compelled to wonder why. A fall while sweeping pine needles from the roof? A boating accident while water skiing? An overdose or jealous lover?

  1. The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) states that Harvey A. Stuhl is buried in a San Antonio cemetery.
  2. The National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Veterans Gravesites, Gravesite Locator database describes Harvey A. Stuhl as "SFC US ARMY / VIETNAM" -- the formulaic inscription on veteran memorial stones and plaques. The database states he was buried in SECTION 16 SITE 689 and has a link to a map of the section, which includes many individual graves and a couple of columbaria.
  3. The Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File, maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, gives the "Cause of death" for "H. Stuhl" as "Natural".

So there we have it. Or do we?

Causes of death

BIRLS's "Cause of death" categories appear to be "unknown, natural, combat, other". "Other" would include accident, suicide, and homicide -- to keep things simple.

Death due to "combat" in military lingo means death resulting from hostile fire under battle conditions. In the civilian world, being killed in combat would constitute a subcategory of "homicide" differentiated from being killed in a criminal offense (murder) or being killed as a form of punishment (execution).

The easiest breakdown of "external" or "instrumental" causes of death is commonly referred to as "NASH" -- natural, accident, suicide, homicide. The underlying "internal" causes of all these "modes" of death, however, are medical. The "external" issue here is whether the "internal" medical causes were created by "natural" causes (illness, disease), or by accident, suicide, or homicide. Cessation of breathing will be the underlying cause of a death regardless of whether the death resulted from the effects of liver cancer, choking on a piece of chicken, a leap from a building, or an arrow in the heart.

So saying that Stuhl died from "natural" causes still begs the question "Why?" Heart failure? Cancer? An infectious disease?

No obituaries . . .

I could find no obituaries . . . at least none as such.

This is not surprising. Most people die without public notification in the form of a newspaper obituary. Few people get more than a name and date-of-death notice, if that, in a local paper.

In any event, many obituaries avoid mention of cause-of-death particulars. Still, even a phrase like "after a long illness" is significant in that it would seem to rule out an accident, suicide, or homicide.

. . . however . . .

. . . Cyberspace has become a bottomless reservoir of searchable information culled from digitized scans of old newspapers. Almost everything gets tossed into a soup of words detached from their phrases and sentences and graphs and contexts, which makes the ideal broth in which to freely search for trivia.

The only downside is that scanners make errors in proportion to the illegibility -- the irregularity, bleeding, or fading -- of the impression. And an OCR (opitical character reader) scan of a page of old newsprint consisting of tiny fonts impressed with cheap ink on cheap pulp paper often yields little more than an alphabet soup in which a few, some, many, or all words are corrupted beyond recognition.

But I finally found the following two articles buried in two local papers.

Report of incident

Stuhl incident report 2 Dallas teen-agers held in arrow slayings

Tuesday, July 11, 1989
The Galveston Daily News
Galveston, Texas
Page 2

2 Dallas teen-agers held in arrow slayings

Associated Press

DALLAS -- The body of a San Antonio man who police believe may have been slain by a bow and arrow was found near the northeast shore of White Rock Lake Monday [10 July 1989].

An anonymous telephone tip led officials to the east Dallas lake, where police found a 19-year-old man and a I6-year-old girl seated in the dead man's car. The girl led authorities to the body that was stashed in a nearby hole and covered with brush.

Police believe the man was killed on Saturday. His name has been withheld, pending notification of relatives.

Police arrested Marshall Craig Gardner and the girl on investigative charges in connection with murder. The name of the girl was withheld because of her age.

Police say the teen-agers and the man were acquainted and that robbery may have been a motive in the slaying.

Deputy Chief Marvin Bullard said the man may have been killed by a bow and arrow.

"It's very unique," Bullard told WFAA-TV. "I don't think in my 25 years that I've ever seen a homicide that was committed by a bow and arrow -- and that's not confirmed, but that's the word we have, and there were arrows at the scene."

San Antonio is about 274 miles (440 kilometers) driving distance south of Dallas. Fort Sam Houston, where practically all medical corpmen, laboratory technicians, and many other Army medical personnel are trained, is in the city of San Antonio, not in Houston. I received my corpsman training there. Harvey Stuhl most likely received his lab tech training there, and it appears that during the later years of his career he was later stationed there, possibly as a lab tech at the Brooke Army Medical Center, which is at Fort Sam Houston.

"White Rock Lake is a 1,015 acre city lake [reservoir] located approximately 5 miles northeast of downtown Dallas. White Rock is one of the most heavily used parks in the Dallas Park system . . ." (

WFAA-TV is a Dallas station viewable on Channel 8.

Marshall Craig Gardner was born on 7 December 1969 and at the time of slaying was living Corpus Christi, a coastal city south of San Antonio. Galveston is on the coast east of San Antonio.

Report of trial

Stuhl murder trial report Killer fesses up

Wednesday, October 10, 1990
Del Rio News Herald
Del Rio, Texas
Page 2

Killer fesses up

DALLAS (AP) -- A Garland man admitted that he used his teen-age wife to lure a San Antonio area man to a Dallas park where he stalked the man and killed him with a bow and arrow, a homicide detective has testified.

Detective D.S. Ortega read a statement given police by Marshall Craig Gardner, 20, Tuesday at Gardner's murder trial in the July 9, 1989, slaying of Harvey Stuhl of Universal City.

Ortega testified that Gardner denied involvement in the killing until he was told that Patricia Ann Gardner, his wife, had led officers to the man's body.

Ortega said that Gardner became upset at Stuhl in April 1989, when Gardner needed $2,000 to post bond so that he could be released from a Corpus Christ jail.

Marshall Craig Gardner was sentenced to a life term on 10 October 1990 according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) data (see below). This is the date of the above newspaper article, which reported recent developments in Gardner's trial.

TDCJ data shows that Gardner has been incarcerated in the Huntsville Unit of the Texas prison system. The unit is a 1,705 maximum capacity male prison operated by the Correctional Institutions Division (CID) of TDCJ. It is near downtown Huntsville, which is north of Houston toward Dallas, whereas Galveston is on the coast south of Houston.

Gardner's life sentence appears to have been approved for parole, but he appears to still be in prison on account of two offenses of possession of a deadly weapon while in prison, which added additional and consecutive sentences of 12 years (1991 offense sentenced in 1992) and 10 years (1993 offense sentenced in 1994).


Marshall Craig Gardner

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) offender data base shows the following status for Marshall Craig Gardner.

                  SID Number: 03980505
                 TDCJ Number: 00567238
                        Name: GARDNER, MARSHALL CRAIG
                        Race: W
                      Gender: M
                         DOB: 1969-12-07
            Current Facility: HUNTSVILLE
      Projected Release Date: NOT AVAILABLE
     Parole Eligibility Date: 2004-07-10
Offender Visitation Eligible: YES 
Offense history

The same Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) database shows the following table history of offenses for Marshall Craig Gardner (I have reordered them according to the date of the offense).

Offense Date Offense Sentence Date County Case No. Sentence (YY-MM-DD)
1989-07-08 MURDER W/DEADLY WPN 1990-10-10 DALLAS F-9003684-KH 9999-99-99
1991-11-14 POSS DDLY WPN PENAL INSTI 1992-10-29 ANDERSON 22577 12-00-00
1993-02-11 DDLY WPN PENAL INSTITUTION 1994-02-18 ANDERSON 23,124 10-00-00

The Texas Prison Inmates database at The Texas Tribune summarizes the history of offenses as follows (again, I have shown the offenses in chronological order from the original offense). This database includes Gardner's Height (5 ft 9 in), Weight (170 lbs), Hair Color (Brown), and Eye Color (Hazel).

Crime Committed On County Term Sentence Began
MURDER W/DEADLY WPN 7/8/1989 Dallas Life 7/10/1989
POSS DDLY WPN PENAL INSTI 11/14/1991 Anderson 12 years 5/13/1992
DDLY WPN PENAL INSTITUTION 2/11/1993 Anderson 10 years 10/7/1993

The Prison Units database at The Texas Tribune shows the following record for Gardner as an inmate of Huntsville (as of February 2016).

Name Age Main Crime County Entered On Crime Location Home County
Marshall Craig Gardner 46 MURDER W/DEADLY WPN 11/5/1990 Life Dallas Dallas
Parole decisions

Gardner's parole is controlled by rules that apply to "consecutive or cumulative sentences". Parole boards vote as to whether an offender who is serving one or more sentences should be released, and if released, the conditions of release.

The same TDCJ database showed, as of 15 April 2016, the date of this writing, that the Last Parole Decision regarding Gardner was Approved on 14 March 2016.

The CUFI date was given as June 2016, along with the statement that "Parole was approved under the current sentence but the offender is not eligible for release due to a consecutive sentence. The current sentenced has ceased to operate and the offender has begun serving the subsequent sentence."

"CUFI" refers to cumulative parole approval when eligible. The CUFI date "Designates the date on which an offender serving consecutive or cumulative sentences will satisfy the current sentence and begin to serve the next sentence in the series. The cause number on the approved sentence will be indicated in the vote." (TDCJ glossary). According to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, "Approval for parole on the current sentence in a series; offenders serving consecutive sentences are considered for parole for each individual sentence upon reaching eligibility. The offender must receive parole on or discharge the first sentence to commence serving the next sentence in the series."

Eligibility for parole

Note that that the TDCJ database shows a Parole Eligibility Date of 10 July 2004-07-10. I would guess that this refers to eligibility for parole on the original offense of MURDER W/DEADLY WPN.

A 2011 guide to the Texas parole system published in Austin, Texas by the Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles charts the changes over the years in Texas penal codes.

Until the late 1960s, the maximum period of eligibility for parole for all offenses was 15 years. It then changed to 20 years, and later a 2-year minimum eligibility rule was applied to cases of Aggravated Kidnapping, Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Any offense with Affirmative finding of Deadly Weapon, and Capital Murder.

However, the 70th Legislature (09/01/1987 - 08/31/1989), which was in session at the time Harvey Stuhl was murdered, dropped the maximum eligibility period for all offenses back to 15 years, and the 2-year minimum still applied to aggravated offenses, offenses with a deadly weapon, and capital murder. The 74th Legislature (09/01/1995 - 08/31/1997) increased the maximum eligibility to 30 years for this class of offenses.

And so Gardener, when sentenced to life for killing Stuhl, had a parole eligibility window of 2-15 years. This meant, in effect, that if the parole board did not approve a conditional release by the end of his 15th year of incarceration, then he would no longer be eligible for parole. In other words, he had to spend at least 2 years in prison, and within 15 years complete all required rehabilitation programs and meet expectations of good behavior ("good time").

Within the first few years of his imprisonment, however, Gardner was twice charged and sentenced for violating a very serious prison rule against possessing anything regarded as a deadly weapon. These offenses add repsectively 12 and 10 years to his life term -- to be served from which point any parole he might be granted for the life term would have started.

Patricia Ann Gardner

I cannot trace Patricia Gardner after her involvement with Marshall Gardner in the slaying of Harvey Stuhl. Her name was suppressed in the initial report on account of her being protected by rules applying to younger offenders.

A Texas divorce index shows that a "Marshall C Gardner" (birth abt 1970) and a "Patricia A Gardner", who had married 10 June 1989, divorced 6 August 2002. A marriage index shows that "Marshall C Gardner" (birth abt 1970) married a "Katy A Engle" (Age 30) [born abt 1973] married 21 March 2003 in Nueces county [county seat is Corpus Christi].

I cannot determine whether these are the same "Patricia A." and "Marshall C." Gardners. The names and initials are not that unusual. Their combination is not highly probable but is possible. Having middle names and precise dates of birth would help rule out or accept the likelihood that these are same people.

Inmate marriages

Until 2013, Texas law allowed persons incarcerated in Texas prisons to marry by proxy. In a proxy marriage, one or both parties are represented by a third-party stand-in. Texas revised its family laws in 2013 to prohibit such marriages except in the case of military personnel stationed overseas. The object of the revision was to reduce fraudulent marriages. However, in 1987 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that inmates had the right to marry (Turner v. Safley). In 2015, an administrative directive authorized offender marriages within TDCJ's penal institutions.


Rodriguez 2012 Else said, "Rod, you bring our baby home . . ."
Rodriguez 2012 "How I got myself into this mess of Vietnam"

Leon Rodriguez (1965-1967)

Nguyen Thi Mien (aka "Cindy") becomes Barbara Lynn Rodriguez

Most of the dramatic stories involving Kishine Barracks during the Vietnam War are by people who passed through the 106th General Hospital as wounded soldiers who were evacuated to Japan from Vietnam and lived to tell their tales. Leon Rodriguez, the author of Bring Our Baby Home, was a member of the original party that helped set up the 106th in Yokohama in 1965 and in 1967 became the surgical NCOIC of the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam.

Leon Rodriguez
Bring Our Baby Home
(My Memoirs of the Vietnam War
First Tour, June 1967 thru June 1968)
Bloomington (IN), Authorhouse, 2012
122 pages, paper cover

The 24th Evac was stationed at Long Binh in Bien Hoa (邊和) ward in Dong Nai (同坭) province near Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh, from August 1966 to December 1972. Long Binh Post, the largest U.S. Army base in Vietnam during most of the war, swelled to its peak in 1969, after which U.S. and allied troops began to reduce their strength in the country. The base was tranferred to the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) on 11 November 1972 as a result of the end of direct U.S. involvement in the war with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV).

Rodriguez was born the son of Leon and Ruby Rodriguez in Fruita, Mesa County, Colorado on 17 January 1938, graduated from high school in 1955 and the same year enlisted in the U.S. Army. His overseas service including France, German, Japan, and Vietnam. After retiring from 20 years of military service in 1975, Rodriguez was licensed as a physician's assistant and surgical assistant in Washington. He married Else Heidimarie Muller in Ludwigsburg, Germany on 25 October 1963, and they adopted Nguyen Thi Mien as Barbara Lynn Rodriguez in 1967. (Source: Based on author's provile in Bring Our Baby Home and

Rodriguez was with the 106th from 1965-1967 and served two terms in Vietnam, the first in 1967-1968 and the second in 1960-1970.

Rodriguez's understanding of the origin of "Kishini Barracks" as an "R & R (rest & recuperation) Center left over from the Korean War Era" reflects the most common version of the "urban legend" that had been in circulation for many years before he wrote his book. I frankly can't remember what we were told upon our arrival in December 1965 about the origin and use of the facility

I was every bit as guilty as many others have been of taking the factuality of casual accounts for granted. In the early 2000s, when I first attempted to summarize my experiences at the 106th, I described the barracks as having been built during the Korean War for use as an R&R center, but that they had remained unused as such because the war ended before they were finished. I have no idea where I got this notion. It wasn't until I started working on the present project that -- faced with conflicting accounts -- I began looking for reliable data. And the sort of information I found required revisions of practically all handed-down accounts, including some in Japanese. The misinformation was not a language problem, but a problem of hearsay and imagination running amok in a vacuum of facts.

Organizational black boxes

Rodriguez writes in his book that he was sent to Vietnam in June 1967 after he his 3rd request for transfer to Vietnam was finally approved by Colonel Charles Reed, the 106th's first commanding officer (see next). Reeds apparent reluctance to approve Rodriguez's request is understandable in that, even in a hospital was full of skilled medical officers, it was mostly experienced career non-commissioned officers who in many respects ran the show. As Rodriguez tells the story, he generated the medical supply requests that the medical supply officer, a lieutenant colonel, had mostly to rubber stamp.

It was not that MC, ANC, and MSC officers were unable to call the shots. But if you wanted to know what was going in any section, you were more likely to learn more, and learn it quicker, by asking the sergeants. It's not for nothing that one of Rodriguez's publicists refers to the "former U.S. Army Medic Sergeant" as a "scrounging-Houdini". The deals were made by the enlisted men.

Rodriguez's thin book is worth the price of admission. It is full of anecdotes, including how he scrounged up desperately needed surgical equipment and supplies from the 93rd Evac, which was also based at Long Binh. Both hospitals were routinely provided with a similar mix of supplies. But the 24th Evac, as the neurological surgery center in Vietnam, quickly went through supplies required for operations related to head wounds. So Rodriguez paid a visit to the 93rd and brought back the needed supplies, which the 93th had little use for. Rodriguez did not say so, but I doubt a single sheet of official paper exchanged hands.


Makeship incubators

Labor Law Talk archived the following article from the Denver Post [original link dead] under "Forum, Family Law Forum, Specific State Family Law, Virginia Family Law". The Denver Post link is dead. The date on the Labor Lat Talk link post is 18 June 2004. The date of the Getty Image photograph, which appears to have accompanied the article, is 16 June 2004. [Bracketed remarks] and highlighted notes are mine.

Rodriguez 2004

"Leon Rodriguez was in Vietnam in 1967. His MASH unit [sic = His evacuation hospital] saved the life of a Vietnamese woman and delivered her twins over one month prematurely. Only one of the two survived. The mother abandoned the surviving baby because of superstitions. Leon and the nurses kept the baby, whom they named Cindy alive while hiding her in the MASH unit [sic = hospital]for six months. He then adopted her and brought her back home to the United States in 1968."

Image and caption copped from
Image attributed to Helen H. Richardson
Dated June 16, 2004

Ex-GI found a miracle amid terror

By Diane Carman
Denver Post Columnist

Leon Rodriguez is haunted by ghosts. If he closes his eyes, they appear as vividly as when he first saw them unloaded from the helicopters at the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam. He clenches his fists and tries to will them gone, but they never go away.

It's why he chooses to focus instead on the miracles.

At his southwest Denver home, a flag is hung by the front door and a Kerry-for-president sign is in the yard. On the walls everywhere are photos of his children. They're smiling, happy, each one a miracle.

But especially Barbara. Barbara cheated a long, brutal war of one more death.

For years, Rodriguez has kept the story of Barbara to himself. But now, he said, people need to hear it.

It began about 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 26, 1967. Sgt. Rodriguez was in charge of surgery at the 24th Evac. Barbara's parents and her 6-year-old brother were brought into the hospital after Cambodian insurgents attacked their village on the edge of a rice paddy. Green Berets had rescued them. Barbara's mother was "gut-shot," Rodriguez said, and rushed into surgery.

But before the surgeons could save her life, they delivered her tiny twin girls, several weeks premature but hardy and undeniably beautiful.

The army nurses scavenged the Quonset hut for two boxes, some blankets, hot water bottles and makeshift clothing. They placed the babies in the closest thing to incubators to be found that near to the front and put the boxes on either side of the mother's bed in the recovery room. Her husband and son curled up and slept on the floor beneath the bed with a small bag containing everything they owned between them.

The next day, the larger of the two babies died. Her immature lungs had failed her. The other baby survived by accident. During the night, the blanket protecting her from the hot water bottle had slipped. She touched the bottle and burned her arm. The pain kept her crying -- and breathing -- all night.

In his scrapbook, under the picture of the preemie in the cardboard box, Rodriguez wrote about the miracle: "This sweet baby brought joy and hope to members and patients of the 24th Evacuation Hospital."

The family stayed in the hospital until the mother had recovered. Then the GIs took them to a refugee camp near Saigon. They left the baby behind.

"I have no idea why they abandoned Barbara," Rodriguez said. They were Montagnards, Vietnam's indigenous people. They were known to be superstitious. They had no home. She was so small. Maybe they couldn't take care of her.

Rodriguez said nurses, doctors, even patients at the 24th doted on the baby he'd named Barbara. The engineers built her a crib and a highchair. In the midst of mayhem, where the average number of craniotomies -- only one of the many surgical procedures done at the MASH unit [sic = the evacuation hospital] -- was 180 a month, everyone watched out for her.

The 24th Evac was a semi-mobile hospital. It was not, however, a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit. MASH units were smaller, truly mobile, and usually between the battlegrounds and the evac hospitals, which were usually further in the rear. In Vietnam, the rear -- including the sprawling Long Binh base -- was vulnerable to Viet Cong attacks, and at time the 24th Evac also came under fire.

By December, the fighting was becoming more intense and casualties were mounting. Rodriguez said orders came down to save every available bed for wounded soldiers. So during inspections, Barbara had to disappear.

Nurses and patients would slip her from ward to ward, keeping her quiet and away from the eyes of officers.

She was growing more and more healthy and beautiful. Rodriguez had fallen in love with her.

Finally, one night he got on the radio to his wife, Else.

"She's a baby who needs parents. Over," he said. "We're parents who need a baby. Over." Else's response was immediate. "She would make our family complete. Over."

With that, the Byzantine process of adopting a baby at the height of the war began.

Rodriguez hired an interpreter and combed the refugee camps searching for the Montagnard family. Unable to find them, he entered negotiations with the South Vietnamese government to get the adoption approved without the parents' permission.

By spring, Barbara had her very own Vietnamese passport, a small green, hardcover document with a black-and-white photo of a black-haired, brown-eyed baby girl, and a visa, signed by a U.S. State Department official while the U.S. Embassy in Saigon was under attack.

At last in June, after a year at Long Binh, Rodriguez caught an embassy flight back to the world. He held his baby girl in his arms the whole way.

Later, when they all were back in the states, Virginia Devine, one of the Army nurses who cared for Barbara, and her husband, Col. Robert Leaver, an army neurosurgeon, were godparents at her baptism.

Now, 36 years after celebrating his first Father's Day [1968], Rodriguez is telling the story as if it were yesterday. He remembers the names of the fellow soldiers, the feeling of the sweat running down his back in the operating room, the overwhelming fatigue after weeks on end of 16-hour days spent fighting for life in the theater of death.

"A couple of my friends in Vietnam wanted me to write about all this," he said. "It's highly personal. It's never been written."

Twelve years ago, the 24th had a reunion at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. More than 400 people -- surgeons, nurses, corpsmen, even former patients -- came to share old stories. They invited Barbara to speak.

"It was wonderful," Rodriguez said. They remembered her and what she meant to the unit. She thanked them. "It was such a thrill for her, for everyone.

"War is a constant catastrophe," Rodriguez said. "Most of the time we were overwhelmed, triaging as fast as we could. There was a constant threat. It was hot. We were sweating. Sometimes we'd have to hold the nurses back when a child would arrive on a litter to make sure the patient wasn't rigged to a bomb.

"Those are things the chicken hawks have never seen."

Rodriguez served 20 years in the Army, two tours in Vietnam. At 66, he still works as a physician's assistant in the operating room. He's still married to Else, still capable of getting all mushy about his kids, still an unabashed patriot.

"Maybe now you can see why I'm talking about this after all these years.

"I want to do something to protect my kids, something for the future," he said.

"People need to understand. No one should be coloring the facts to justify going to war. No one should go to war on superficial evidence. We need to know the truth."

The truth, Rodriguez said, is that with all its suffering, its casualties, the deaths, the ghosts and even the occasional blessed miracle, war is not glorious.

"It's not a game," he said, his hands clenched into tight fists to keep the ghosts at bay.

"It's madness."


In memorium: Nguyen Thi Mein aka "Cindy" later Barbara Lynn Rodriguez (1967-2015)

The 24th Evacuation Hospital website guestbook includes the following postings by or about Leon Rodriguez, his wife Else, and their adopted daughter Barbara. I have slightly reformated the postings to make them easier to read.

Barbara Rodriguez Thi Mein aka "#2 Cindy" and later Barabara
Copped from
This and other photos also in Bring Our Baby Home
Barbara Rodriguez Barbara as a mother with her three children
Copped from

Leon Rodriguez
Denver, CO USA
I was at the 24th Evac from: June 1967 - June 1968
Association: NCOIC of Operating Rooms & CMS

I was the Sergeant that adopted Baby Barbara. Barbara has done beautifully. She has her own family now, with a good husband, a beautiful thirteen year old daughter and a bright eighteen year old son. Barbara is 42 years old and has been married 20 years. As you know, Barbara's name given by her natural parents was Nguyen Thi Mein. There was only one scary time in parenting Barbara. That was in 1970 when the Vietnamese Government sent me rules and reporting requirements for her care. I immediately adopted Barbara in American Court and expedited her US Citizenship. It is interesting to note, that recently there have been many articles about the adoption of Barbara. None of them have much accuracy, but at least talking or writing about Barbara is good for the writer or speaker. Barbara has always been a joy for my wife and I. I have offered Barbara the chance to go back to Vietnam, but she always says, Dad you and Mom are my parents and there is nothing in Vietnam for me to go to. For me, I truly believe I have much more than I deserve.

Respectfully, Leon Rodriguez
-- Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 20:07:26 (EST)

Don Barnett
Littleton, CO USA
I was at the 24th Evac from: August 16, 1968 to Dec 11, l969
Association: Detachment Commander, Aug, l968 to Dec, l969

Don (Ole Barn or Barney) Barnett here. Greetings to my friends from the l968 and l969 generation at the dear ole 24th Evac. I was on the committee that prepared the l993 reunion at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. A few of you have the note about the passing of my wife, JoAnn. She was the heart and soul of the l993 event and managed all of it. Her computer skills made the reunion possible. We have told our friends and family that, aside from the joy of our children and grandchildren, those fours days in the hot summer of l993 were most glorious days of our life since my return from Vietnam about Christmas time in l969. We were married about 1.5 years after I got home. JoAnn had heard all of my stories countless times and felt the spirit of the reunion when good friends from several generations of service met under a friendly flag of friendship and had those wonderful days together. Tears at events like that are a good thing. Baby Barbara (see Leon's latest entry on the web, please) was our keynote speaker and there was not a dry eye in the hotel ballroom. Leon lives about two miles from me on the west side of metro Denver. He was NCOIC [non-commissioned officer in charge] of the OR [operating room] during TET [Vietnamese (Chinese) New Years] in l968. I have dozens of pictures, letters from the attendees, and memories that fill my heart with pride and affection for those who served so well and the patients who suffered so greatly during that war. We had about ten patients who had passed through the hospital join us at the l993 reunion.

[ . . . ]

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July. With my affection and respect, Don Barnett Captain, MSC Medical Detachment Commander, l968-69.
-- Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 21:09:24 (EDT)

John N. Baldwin, MD FACS
Twain Harte CA, USA
Association with 24th Evac: surgeon May 68-69
Dates at 24th Evac:

Comments: Several of us recently received sad news from our esteemed Operating Room NCOIC from 68-69, Sgt. Leon Rodriguez and his wife, Else whom we remember from his unselfish actions during TET and other challenging times at the 24th. He adopted the orphaned baby "Barbara" and with persistence and help from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and MACV [Military Assistance Command, Vietnam] forces, brought her home. Else and Leon were wonderful to see at Branson [Missouri] in 2014 [11-14 September], and now they are grieving as Barbara has died.

Their email: [ OMITTED]

Our thoughts, prayers and memories are with them during this difficult time.
-- Wednesday, June 03, 2015 4:21 PM (EDT)


Colonel Charles R. W. Reed, M.D., U.S. Army Medical Corps

Commander, 106th General Hospital, Kishine Barracks, 1965-1968

The commander of the 106th General Hospital at the time it was deployed to Kishine Barracks from Ft. Bliss in December 1965 was Col. Charles R. W. Reed (1918-1990). It appears that, sometime in 1965, he succeeded Lieut. Col. Robert L. Judy, who around 1964 had succeeded Maj. Harry E. Leake, who then became the hospital's executive officer. I have no further information about Judy or Leake, except as reported the 1964 El Paso newspapers articles cited under 106th General Hospital (Ft. Bliss) (below).

Several years prior to taking command of the 106th General Hospital, which had been been STRAC unit nested with the William Beaumont General Hospital at Ft. Bliss, Reed, who was a surgeon, published the following article in the American Medical Association's surgical journal.

Lieut. Col. Charles R. W. Reed (MC), U.S. Army
Trauma to the Pelvis and Hip
A. M. A. Archives of Surgery
Volume 75, Number 5 (November 1957, pages 736-738

In 1968, Reed passed the command of the 106th to Col. Alexander Boysen (below), and apparently returned to William Beaumont General Hospital at Ft. Bliss, where the 106th had originated, as a colonel. The Tuesday, 4 February 1969 edition of El Paso Herald-Post (page 6) reveals that he was the president of the board of the board of officers who examined Southwestern applicatings for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Point Hopefuls Are Examined

Applicants for admission to the July, 1969 class of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. are now undergoing examination at William Beaumont General Hospital. They comprise the second group of candidates to he examined at the hospital this winter. The students are from the Southwestern area.

The examining board of officers was appointed by Brig. Gen, Kenneth D. Orr, Beaumont commanding general. President of the board is Col. Charles R. W. Reed.

Young men interested in a military career with preparation at the Military Academy may write to the Director of Admissions and Registrar, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. 10996, for information.

The following obituary for Reed's wife Bette, published in the Skagit Valley Herald on 10 June 2011, reveals a bit about his life in addition to hers (version below published by both Dignity Memorial (Sunset Hills Memorial Park and Funeral Home) and Find a Grave.

Bette Reed Bette June (Gray) Reed
Photo from Dignity Memorial
Bette Reed Greenacres Memorial Park, Ferndale, WA
(Find a Grave photo by Bill Gahringer)
Charles Reed Greenacres Memorial Park, Ferndale, WA
(Find a Grave photo by Bill Gahringer)

In Memory of

Bette June Reed

June 21, 1922 - June 3, 2011

Bette Reed (Gray) passed away peacefully June 3, 2011.

Born in Winside, Nebraska in 1922, Bette spent her early years on her father's farm until the early 1930s, when the family moved to Selah, Washington during the Dust Bowl years.

She was named Dairy Queen in high school and was the first college graduate in her family, having worked her way through college at Central Washington University, Seattle University, and Western Washington University.

While on campus at Seattle University, a young pre-med student asked the dean of women to introduce him to Bette. She married Chuck in 1943, joining him in Louisville, Kentucky, where he graduated from medical school the following year.

When the military transferred him to Italy at the end of World War II, Bette returned to her parents' home on a dairy farm near Acme, Washington, where she earned her B.A. in Education from Western Washington University in 1948 and taught at Acme School. She continued teaching as she and Chuck were transferred to military bases in Denver, Georgia, North Carolina, Honolulu, Washington, D.C., and Japan. As a reading specialist, she taught many young children to read.

Upon retirement, they resided in Clyde Hill (Bellevue), Washington and on San Juan Island, where Dr. Reed's family had lived from 1908 to 1918. On the island, Bette painstakingly edited and typed onto carbon paper her sister-in-law, Caroline Reed's, memoir of growing up in Friday Harbor and Bellingham.

Proceeds from her publication of Underpinning benefit the San Juan Historical Museum and copies are held at both the State of Washington Historical Library and the Bellingham Historical Library. Bette also wrote and published for limited distribution a memoir of growing up in Nebraska and the journey to Washington called Sunflowers and Cockleburs.

Living near sister-and-brother-in law, Virginia and Oliver Sandwith, on their beloved San Juan Island from the mid 1970s, Bette and Chuck were avid golfers, aerobic walkers, and readers, were charter members of the Interisland Medical Clinic, and participated in many Audubon annual bird counts.

She is a past member of the Audubon Society, San Juan Golf Club, Bellevue Golf Course, the San Juan Historical Museum, Cape San Juan Board, Book Group, and the First Presbyterian Church of Bellevue.

Following a stroke, Bette was skillfully and lovingly cared for at the Canyon Park Adult Living Centers, Bothell, Washington.

She is survived by her sister, Shirley Webster; daughter, Susan; son, Charles; grandchildren, Lysa, Willis and Heather; daughter-in-law, Page; and 13 nieces and nephews.

After graveside services, Bette will be buried next to her beloved husband at Greenacres Cemetery, Ferndale, Washington.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the San Juan Historical Museum, P.O. Box 441, Friday Harbor WA 98250.

Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on June 10, 2011


Mitsu Hasegawa (1966-1970)

Understanding and compassion

Hundreds of "local nationals" were employed the 106th General Hospital in various capacities. I have no idea what attracted them to work at Kishine -- the money and other working conditions, a desire to be around military personel perhals to learn English -- or simply because they needed a job.

The local nationals at the pathology lab where I worked were a pleasure be have around. They were diligent and reliable and willing to learn whatever the job required and sometimes more.

The following story is about a woman named Mitsu Hasegawa, who was working in the medical wards at the time I was at Kishine Barracks. The pathology lab was originally located in Building B, where she mainly worked. The labe soon moved into the small building immediately by B. So I probably passed Hasegawa somewhere.

If I passed her I probably saw her. Whether I took more than passing notice of her is another matter. Even if I more than glanced at her, or smiled, or said Konnichi wa, the odds of such encounters making a lasting impression on me were very small.

The following story makes me aware of how much was going on at Kishine that I totally missed. The text and images are from a digitalized scan of the journal in which it appeared, available in several formats at Internet Archive.

By Robert F. Hemphill
"In Loco Parentis"
The Chaplain
A Journal for Chaplains Serving the Armed Forces, Veterans Administration and Civil Air Patrol
May-June 1971, Volume 28, Number 3
Pages 24-27

The contents page of the journal states that "The Chaplain is published bimonthly by The General Commission on Chaplains and Armed Forces Personnel, an official civilian agency of 41 affiliated religious bodies with 60 million members. Washington, D.C.: General Commission on Chaplains and Armed Forces Personnel."

Hemphill cover Cover of May-June issue of The Chaplain
Hemphill photo Photograph by Robert Hemphill (page 25)
Mrs. Mitsu Hasegawa (center) in the Post Chapel at Camp Kishine, Yokohama, Japan, with Chaplain (CPT) Theodore P. Wolcheck, Hospital Chaplain, and Miss Keiko Naito, secretary in the Post Chaplain's office.
Hemphill photo Photograph by Robert Hemphill (page 26)
Mrs. Mitsu Hasegawa brought an offering of flowers the 14th of every month to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Camp Kishine, Yokohama, Japan, and prayed for the young American who died there.

In Loco Parentis

By Robert F. Hemphill

THE 106TH U. S. Army General Hospital at Camp Kishine, Yokohama, Japan, is closed now, but hundreds of wounded GI's from Vietnam who were patients there will never forget gentle, amiable Mrs. Mitsu Hasegawa.

The hospital opened its doors in December, 1965, and was one of several in Japan which provided medical backup for the U. S. forces in the Vietnam conflict. Through the lifesaving efficiency of military airlift, servicemen of today are plucked from where they fall, given emergency care in field stations, and in a matter of hours carefully delivered to specialists in hospitals hundreds of miles away. The hospital at Camp Kishine was one of those stopovers on the road to recovery.

Mitsu Hasegawa, Japanese housewife and mother of two grown children, went to work at Kishine in January, 1966, as a member of the hospital custodial staff. Her work was primarily in Ward B-1, but when she could she circulated through all the wards. She became well and fondly known to patients, staff, and Red Cross volunteers alike. Relying upon her motherly instinct, she knew how to single out the GI who chafed at the slowness of his recuperation and who missed his family an ocean away. Her warm smile and greeting in Japanese -- which few of the patients spoke -- usually brought him around.

"Soldiers in a hospital are pretty direct with an unwelcome visitor," observed Chaplain (Captain) Theodore P. Wolcheck, Roman Catholic chaplain at the hospital at the time of its inactivation, "but not so with Mrs. Hasegawa -- they loved her."

Her English vocabulary was infinitesimal, but Mitsu Hasegawa's ability to communicate human understanding and compassion was limitless. Says Chaplain Wolcheck, "She manifested kindness but not maudlin curiosity. The troops liked what they saw and they responded to her friendliness."

Like most Japanese women, Mrs. Hasegawa has nimble fingers and she likes to keep them busy. Inspired by the Oriental art of origami or paper folding, she devised a special knickknack to distribute during her bedside visits. Using colorful ribbon she fashioned mountains of cheerful, fat fish of many hues and bestowed them, bobbing on threads and fins flapping, upon the patients. "A ward used to look like a decorated Christmas tree after she had passed through," smiled the chaplain.

Mitsu Hasegawa reassured many GI patients at the Kishine hospital, and in at least one instance they turned the tables on her. When they discovered that she still grieved for a brother who had died four years earlier, an American volunteered to become her "brother." Among her most precious possessions today are his letters from the United States which begin "Dear Sister."

Her days at the hospital weren't always easy. Occasionally her efforts to befriend a ward were rebuffed by a newly-assigned supervisor who hadn't learned of her unique talent for rapport, and this would sadden her. Sometimes she was distressed by visits to the orthopedic wards where amputees were under treatment. She never let them know it, but often her tears flowed freely once she was out of their sight.

SHE SUFFERED with the entire hospital staff on October 14, 1966, when Kishine lost its first evacuee patient. It was not surprising that Mitsu Hasegawa had been particularly close to that soldier or that she was deeply moved by his death.

The young soldier had been severely wounded in Vietnam and airevacuated to Japan. His case was so serious that his parents had been summoned. They came at once and he improved perceptibly, so much so that in a week they were able to return to the United States.

Unaccountably, four days later his condition deteriorated radically and he died. Mrs. Hasegawa remembers that he had been depressed the night of his parents' departure, but by morning had brightened and told her that he would be all right for he realized that he had both an American mother and a Japanese mother, Mitsu Hasegawa -- whose eyes brimmed over. She spent her free time with him, and listened thoughtfully to his special request. Could he please see his Japanese mother in her kimono rather than in the white uniform she wore at the hospital?

He could, and did. The fourth day after his parents had left, Mrs. Hasegawa hurried home after work, donned her best kimono, and returned to the hospital to visit her "son." She recalled that he was weak, but smiled at seeing her in a kimono. She told him to rest, and that she would see him in the morning. He died that night.

Mitsu Hasegawa, a Buddhist, mourned the American and was concerned about his parents. She had tried to furnish a mother's love in the brief time that had remained to the young man, but now he was gone from them all. How should his memory be honored?

Her answer was simple yet profound, for it drew upon her Japanese heritage and her respect for the deceased soldier's Roman Catholic faith. After his death and until the hospital closed in the spring of 1970, on the 14th day of every month she brought an offering to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Usually it would be an arrangement of cut flowers, but sometimes she would bring a plant, or in Buddhist tradition, seasonal fruit and rice cakes. As she would place her gift before the altar overlooked by a statue of the Blessed Mother, she would kneel and pray for the deceased American soldier who had adopted her as his Japanese mother.

She never failed to mark the monthly anniversary of his death, even when it fell on a holiday or a weekend. Memorializing the young American who had died in the service of his country, far away from his home and his family, and who was about the same age as her own son, was too important an obligation to neglect.

Mitsu Hasegawa no longer goes to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, but she has not forgotten her "son." With the understanding and support of her husband and children, she accomplishes a daily memorial at home. In the Hasegawa house is a "butsudan" or god-shelf utilized in family worship. Early each morning she places on it a container of fresh water for the American and includes him in the family prayers.

How does one measure the good Mrs. Mitsu Hasegawa did for the patients at the 106th U. S. Army General Hospital? Those who left Ward B-1 in April, 1970, as the hospital was closing probably did it as well as it can be done. Their farewell letter to her spoke for the many whom she had befriended, including the one who hadn't made it home, as it concluded, "We appreciate your kindness. You really took care of us like our own family. Thank you very much, and we wish happiness for you. The Ward B-1 Patients."


Robert F. Hemphill

The Chaplain states that "Robert F. Hemphill, Col, USAF (Ret), now lives in Japan and is a special lecturer at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary. Tokyo, Japan." The photos are also credited to Hemphill.

Robert Frederick Hemphill was born on 18 November 1918 and died on 9 June 2010 at age 91. An obituary states in part as follows.

Col. Robert F. Hemphill Sr., 91

He earned his wings and was subsequently commissioned an officer in the Army Air Corps. He saw World War II combat service in the Pacific with the decorated 507th Fighter Group, flying the P-47 fighter. At the end of the war, he elected to remain in what became the U.S. Air Force, serving for more than 26 years as a pilot, judge advocate, operations planner, and diplomat. He held the designation of senior command pilot and flew a wide range of aircraft.

He had tours of duty in Palestine with the United Nations under the leadership of Dr. Ralph Bunche during the formation of the State of Israel; the Strategic Air Command (SAC) under the Gen. Curtis B. LeMay; the Fifth Air Force in Japan; the Office of the Air Force Chief of Staff in the Pentagon; and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Fluent in spoken Japanese, he was proudest of his service as Air Attache at the American Embassy in Tokyo, Japan from 1964 to 1967, serving under the leadership of U.S. Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer. Upon completion of that assignment, he received an award seldom given to foreigners, the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Third Degree, from the government of Japan in recognition of his distinguished service to both countries. He was also the recipient of the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Unit Citation, and numerous other military decorations.

He was an active member and leader of several church congregations. He authored or co-authored two church histories. He was also a clever and gifted storyteller, and published a book of humorous children's stories. He was also a prolific poet, and compiled a book of poetry.


Virgil Murray (1966)

Kishine's first patient death

Virgil Murray Virgil Murray circa 1948
Kansas prior to enlistment
Virgil Murray Virgil Murray, date unknown
In Japan or Korea
Virgil Murray Virgil Murray, circa 1960s
In Japan with PFC Yoshida
Virgil Murray Virgil Murray's headstone
Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs

Photo credits

All the photographs of Murray are copped from the Wall-of-Faces section of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website. The photographs were posted by "kid brother Richard E. Murray".

The 1940 U.S. Federal Census for the family of Stanley Murray (39), a farmer, and Ruth Murray (32) lists Virgil Murray (9) and Richard Murray (5). The family was then living in Rio Grande, Colorado. In 1935, the family was living in Larned, in Kansas, where Murray was born in 1930.

The received captions, left to right, are (l) "Virgil (Sony) Abt 1948", (m) "Sony in Japan or Korea", and (r) "Sony & friend PFC Yoshida".

Virgil Murray

The ラメル (rameru) on the bench in the latter photo suggests it was taken in Japan. Backs of benches are commonly used for advertising. The kana are probably the end of 森永ミルクキャラメル (Morinaga Mirukukyarameru) meaning "Morinaga Milk Caramel". This product, which has been in production since 1904, is one of the oldest and most famous candies by one of Japan's most famous and oldest candy companies. The image to the right was captured from one of the many examples of ads shown at Morinaga's Milk Camarel Gallery.

The photograph of Murray's headstone is copped from Find a Grave, where it is attributed to Ron West.

For many years I remembered his name as Murray. In 1966, and for several years after that, I could easily have come up with his full name and perhaps more about him. But in time those details vanished under the waves of memory loss.

If at times his family name also slipped my mind, my memory of it was refreshed whenever I opened up a box of glass microscope slides I had collected while at the 106th General Hospital and kept when I mustered out of the army. The box included a selection of histology slides from Murray's autopsy.

When sectioning tissue for staining, several slides are commonly made from the same specimen for screening purposes, as well as to have copies for official, educational, and personal use.

I drew Murray's blood up to the day or two before he died. He was suffering from septicemia following surgery and was not doing well. I felt very sad when I heard he had died. His death was the first, and the last, of a patient I attended. And in my memory, he was the only patient who died during the 9 months or so that I was there. That would soon change as more burn patients were routed to the 106th and it became the regional burn center.

Murray had come to the 106th General Hospital for other reasons but then underwent elective surgery for a duodenal ulcer. I followed his progress and regress from the day he was admitted to the preop ward, then to the ICU ward where he died a few days after surgery from acute peritonitis, and finally to the postmortem slides showing the hole the surgeon had left in his stomach.

Some writers have cited other deaths as the first, possibly because it would not have been recorded as a death related to war injuries. Nor was it sort of death after investigating its causes.

Murray's autopsy

On account of the circumstances of his death -- following what was supposed to have been a routine operation for a duodenal ulcer -- Murray was also the first patient to be autopsied. And it fell to Dr. Pusch (below), the lab chief and resident pathologist, to either perform or witness the autopsy.

As I recall, Murray was autopsied at the Army hospital at Johnson Air Station. I did not then know exactly where that was. I vaguely recall that it took some time to get there, and that Dr. Pusch spent a night there.

When conducting research for this history of Kishine Barracks, I learned that Johnson Air Station or Air Base was in Iruma in Saitama prefecture just north of Tokyo prefecture. Kishine Barracks were in Yokohama, which is in Kanagawa prefecture just south of Tokyo. The drive in those days could have taken 3 or more hours. I also learned that, at the time, Johnson was the home of the 7th Field Hospital (below), which had about 400 beds.

The 7th had been deployed to Japan in November or December 1965 shortly before the 106th arrived at Kishine. By March 1968, it moved to Camp Oji in Kita ward in Tokyo and became the U.S. Army Hospital there. And it faced widely reported riots by radical student groups, supported by local people, who believed the hospital was treating contagious diseases that would spread to the general population. See Radical Japanese Students Score Another Victory (above) for contemporary reports of student and other protests.

There were no autopsy facilities at the laboratory, but this would not have prevented Dr. Pusch from doing Murray's autopsy at Kishine. There were all manner of doctors and surgical assistants at the 106th who could have helped him perform an autopsy.

I was not aware until 2013 or 2014, when doing the initial research for the Kishine Barracks and 106th web page, that Camp Zama was a hub for routing the remains of military personnel who had died in Japan to their relatives. And not until 2018 did I learn from George Robason, the histology tech at the 106th when I was there, that he accompanied Pusch to Zama to perform autopsies on patients who died at the 106th. When I asked George if he remembered the Murray case, he said that he recalled the 1st death at the hospital but said he couldn't recall anything about the autopsy (see 106th postmortem exams below).

I had been to Zama and had never heard of Johnson. But "Johnson" had stuck in my memory as the place where Pusch had gone to participate in Murray's autopsy. I have no idea if Johnson had autopsy facilities as such. But the 7th Field Hospital had a clinical laboratory, and most likely it was overseen by a pathologist.

My impression at the time was that the 106th General Hospital was in the position of having to perform the autopsy under conditions that would alleviate any doubt about the objectivity of the autopsy and its findings -- hence at another location, possibly by Dr. Pusch with the assistance of the local pathologist, but more likely by the local pathologist with Dr. Pusch assisting or at least witnessing. Either way would have helped establish the autopsy's independence and credibility.

I say this because the circumstances of Murray's death clearly raised suspicions of a surgical mistake. The findings of the autopsy could have serious implications for the surgeon or the surgical team. So the autopsy would have to meet the standards of a thorough forensic postmortem medical examination.

This is more speculation on my part, but I would guess that Dr. Pusch did not himself decide all these matters. The doctors concerned with Murray's treatment, and their superiors, must have discussed everything with Col. Reed, and Reed most likely took the matter up with officials higher in the medical chain of command in Japan. There is probably an SOP (standard operating procedure) for autopsies under such conditions, but options would have been constrained by local circumstances, including the availability of facilities and expertise at other hospitals in the area -- which included Camp Zama.

In any event, after Murray was autopsied at another military base, at least parts of him were brought back to the Pathology Laboratory at the 106th. Whether his body was temporarily returned to Kishine, I cannot say. But for sure his brain -- not part of his brain, but his entire brain -- came to the lab. And over the years, I have often wondered whether Murray was ever reunited with what was left of his brain, after it was dissected at the lab, or whether he went home without it.

I will never forget the day that Dr. Pusch called a few of us over to a corner of the histology section and gave us a lunch-hour lecture on the anatomy of the human brain. Slice by slice, he probed the depths of Murray's gray-pink mind.

Until just a few days before, I had been drawing his blood. And now I'm seeing his brain being examined on a dissection table.

I have no memory of what happened to the parts of Murray's brain. Did some end up in jars of formaldehyde? Or was everything bagged for incineration? That's what happened to tissue samples at the 6th U.S. Army Medical Laboratory at Ft. Baker after they had gone beyond the date they had to be stored. Immediately outside the histology department was a small incinerator specifically used to reduce leftover tissue specimens to ash. Kishine had a large, general purpose incinerator before the arrival of the 106th. I do not know, however, if the general incinerator was used for incinerating surgically separated human tissue.

Murray Virgil

Above Virgil Murray, 1962-1966 Service Record Extract
Below Virgil Murray, 1952-1966 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Form 13164
Screen captures of Coffelt Database of Vietnam Casualties images of U.S. public records
See Coffelt Database Search page for details

Murray Virgil

Cause of death

One public record I found gives the cause of Murray's death as "heart attack". Of course his heart stopped, as did his breathing. Such statements on death certificates are practically meaningless.

The precipitating cause of the cessation of Murray's heart and lungs had to have been the peritonitis that developed in his abdomen following the surgery for a duodenal ulcer. The object of the postmortem examination was to determine what caused the peritonitis, which is always a risk in abdominal surgery, hence the care surgeons are supposed to take to ensure that intestinal bacteria don't seep into the peritoneum when the abdomen is surgically closed.

Antibiotics are routinely administered to prevent the spread of a minor and transient infection following such surgery. But a continuous seepage from the intestines through an improperly closed incision will result in peritonitis. And seepage into the blood stream through blood vessels in the area of the incision will invite septicemia, which will spread the pathogen throughout the body, including the heart and other organs.

I did not see Murray's autopsy report. I could have asked to see it, and Dr. Pusch might have let me see it. But I was not in a position to need to see it. And I understood that the autopsy was not to be the object of rumor mongering.

At the time, of course, I knew the name of the surgeon who had operated on Murray. Today, though, I cannot recall the name of a single doctor who was at the 106th while I was there -- except Capt. Pusch. "Col. Reed" also survived as the name of the hospital commander, but by the time I began researching the history of Kishine and the 106th in the early 2010s, I had forgotten Reed's personal name and whatever else I might have heard about him at the time.

Blood culture

I do, however, recall learning that the autopsy found evidence of a small opening in the sutured area around where the ulcer had been, perhaps close to the diaphragm. Apparently this was where some fluids had seeped into Murray's peritoneum.

I vaguely recall -- though again without certainty -- that Murray had also developed septicemia. However, I clearly recall, with certainty, that his doctors ordered at least two blood cultures, because I drew at least one of them. And I am fairly certain it was the first blood culture we did, as bottled media had to made in order to do do it. While I was there, we made our own media.

Murray had been on my routine blood-drawing rounds, both pre- and post-surgery. After the surgery, he developed a high fever, and one afternoon the lab was requested to do a blood culture.

As I recall, we had not done any blood cultures up to that point. Stools, throat swabs, and swabs or scrapings from open wounds were routinely cultured for evidence of abnormal bacterial flora. Stools and throats normally have bacteria, and open wounds are expected to have bacteria. The only question is what kind and to what extent. And in some cases a doctor needed to know what antibiotics an isolated pathogen was sensitive to.

Urine and blood are not supposed to have bacteria. The bladder, though, is vulnerable to bacterial invasion through the urethra. Normal urine is clear, but cloudy urine is often a sign of cystitis. A simple microscopic exam will show whether the cause of the cloudiness is bacteria. If so, then antibiotics may be prescribed if the kind of bacteria can be guessed from the color of odor of the urine. If not -- or if the cystitis persists -- then the urine is cultured to determine the specific bacterial agent and appropriate antibiotic.

The blood stream, though, is not ordinarily susceptible to bacterial invasion. Even a cut into a vein or artery will generally not pose a serious risk of vascular infection in a healthy patient if the wound is promptly and properly treated. Never mind the alcohol swabbing when you get a shot or have your blood drawn or finger pricked. Such procedures inevitably introduce some bacteria into the bloodstream -- but not in such amounts that a healthy body's immune system can't handle. MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and other such highly pathogenic strains are another matter, but they are extremely rare.

Even 3rd degree burns, if properly cleaned and treated with infection in mind, will not result in septicemia. Extensive and highly contaminated burns pose a serious threat if the body is unable to stop a bacterial invasion.

In any event, the request for a blood culture signified the requesting doctor's recognition that Murray's peritonitis did not explain all his signs and symptoms.

Finding Murray

While "Murray" easily came to mind, his given name, and other things he had told me about himself at the time, gradually eluded me. I had no photographs and could not recall any of his physical features. I vaguely remembered that he was a bit older than most other patients and had been in the Army awhile.

But having just his family name, and knowing when and where he died, allowed me not only to confirm who he was, but to learn things about him I would never otherwise have known -- thanks to the methods of Memory confirmation I developed while researching this history of Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital.

Over the years, I continued to recall that Murray had undergone surgery for an ulcer, which I believed to have been a duodenal ulcer. I am positive that I drew his blood for the usual hematology and blood chemistry, both pre-op and post-op. I recall that we had developed the sort of vampire-patient rapport that I myself have experienced with nurses and phlebotomists in clinics or hospitals where I have been on the receiving end of a needle.

Apparently -- according to my memory -- Murray asked that I be the one to draw the blood culture after he developed peritonitis. I remember him being isolated in a fairly spacious area at the end of the ward.

My memory pulls me to believe that the first blood culture was indecisive, which required a second, which was positive. I can't be sure that I drew the second one. Also nagging me is whether the first one might have been positive but we needed to rule out the possibility of contamination, hence had to repeat the culture. When there is doubt about the integrity of the media, two bottles are used -- one for the patient's blood and one for a control.

I also dimly recall that these were the first blood cultures we did -- that we didn't have a stock of blood culture bottles so had to first "cook up the media" and prepare several bottles in order to do the cultures. And that would have required consulting the media "cook book". It wasn't a matter of "Blood culture? What's that?" -- but rather a situation of "Anyone remember how to make the stuff?" They are not commonly done, as septicemia is rare.

This is what happens to memory after 50 years. Some things are indelible, other things are fleeting or lost. And whatever remains is subject to confusion, corruption, embellishment, suggestion, and pure imagination. There are many similar wrinkles in my memory of Murray (1966)

Practically all blood is drawn for hematology and blood chemistry purposes. Blood cultures are the province of bacteriology.

Kokutai article

I was first inspired to put my memories of Murray's case into writing in 1995 for a monthly column in KOKUTAI, a medical journal published for students studying for the national exam that would qualify them to become interns. The title of the journal is written in alphabetic script explained below the titles as 医師国試対策 or "Ishi Kokushi Taisaku", which means "measures [for passing] the National Examination for Physicians". "Ishi Kokushi" (医師国試) itself is short for "Ishi Kokka Shiken" (医師国家試験), which in English is known as the National Medical Practitioners Qualifying Examination.

Murray was the subject of the 3rd column, titled 吸血鬼 (Kyūketsuki), which means "vampire", which patients commonly dubbed whoever drew their blood. See Vampires for an English version of the article, which was published in Japanese in the June 1995 issue of the journal (Volume 16, Number 5, pages 164-165).

Murray's service records

Murrays service in Vietnam as an ammunition specialist with the 820th Ord Co (Ammo) USARPAC began on 22 December 1965, about a week after the 106th deployed from Ft. Bliss to Kishine Barracks. By 15 January 1966 he had become a patient of the 85th Evac.

A scan of Murray's National Archives and Records Administration Form 13164, which Coffelt attributes to NPRC (National Personnel Records Center), shows the following dates of service.

 3 May 1949 - 25 Aug 1949 (Active)
30 Mar 1951 - 29 Dec 1952 (Active)
30 Dec 1952 - 18 May 1953 (Reserve)
19 May 1953 - 17 Mar 1966 (Active)

This means that Murray had 15 years of active service, the last 13 or so continuous. Yet was only a Spec 4 at the time he came to the 106th.

On active duty for 2 days after death

The NARA form shows Murray's Place of Entry into the service as Wichita, KS, and his Place of Separation as CGUSARJ, CPZAMA, JAPAN.

Murray's records state that he died on 15 March 1966 at the 106th General Hospital but that his active service officially ended two days later on 17 March 1966 at Camp Zama, the headquarters of the Commanding General US Army Japan, and the "Place of Separation" from service. Apparently he was still "on duty" during his postmortem examination.

A scan of an extract of Murray's service record from 1962 to 1966 shows his most recent assignments beginning 20 February 1962 at Ft. Leonard Wood. He began basic combat training on 5 March 1962 and by 15 May 1962 he had been trained as a ammunition storage specialist. With the exception of only a couple of posts, this was his speciality throughout his 8 years in the service.

Newspaper and other accounts of Murray's death

Murray did not die in Vietnam. Nor was he common sensically a "victim" of the Vietnam War. Yet a couple of small articles in the Thursday, 24 March 1966 edition of The Kansas City Times, in the upper left corner of page 17, which was otherwise devoted to local ads, carried the following report of Murray's death.

Virgil A. Murray, Hanson. Kas., is a Victim

Washington (AP) -- The Defense department yesterday released the names of eight U. S. military personnel killed in the Vietnam war. They included: Spec. 4 Virgil A. Murray, son of Stanley A. Murray, Hanson, Kas.

Databases showing the causes of deaths of military personnel associated with the Vietnam War may be neither consistent nor accurate. As a way to illustrate the manner in which the deaths of patients at the 106th General Hospital have been variously treated in databases compiled from official records, I have compared Murray's case with the cases of two other soldiers who didn't survive their treatment.

Three soldiers in two casualty databases
Virgil Arthur Murray
Died at 106th General Hospital
Paul Ames Conroy, Jr.
Died at 106th General Hospital
Grant Hiroaki Henjyoji
Died at FSB (LZ) Grant
Combat Area Casualties Current File values through NARA ADD portal
Type of Casualty
C2 Non-Hostile - Died of Illness/Injuries O Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarcation [sic = Infarction], Coronary Thrombosis, etc.) A1 Hostile - Killed
O Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarcation [sic = Infarction], Coronary Thrombosis, etc.) R Accidental Self-Destruction D Gunshot or Small Arms Fire
C Caucasian C Caucasian M Mongolian
72 Protestant- No Denominational Preference 62 Roman Catholic 14 Buddhism
Coffelt Database values from NARA AAD portal
Casualty Type
C2 Non-Hostile, Died of Illness/Injury C2 Non-Hostile, Died of Illness/Injury A1 Hostile, Died  
O Heart Attack R Accidental Self-Destruction D Gun, Small Arms Fire
Casualty Location
FSB Grant; 11 k ENE Nui Ba Den
Unparsed Unit
MHC 106th GH FSB Grant; 11 k ENE Nui Ba Den
Coffelt Database values from CDB portal
Casualty Data:
Casualty codes: C2-O-7
C2 = Non-hostile, died of illness or injury.
 O = Heart attack.
 7 = Ground casualty.
Casualty codes: C2-R-7
C2 = Non-hostile, died of illness or injury.
 R = Accidental self-destruction.
 7 = Ground casualty.
Casualty codes: A1-D-7
A1 = Hostile, died outright.
 D = Gun or small arms fire.
 7 = Ground casualty.
Casualty Location:
Province code 07. Country code VS.
Binh Dinh Province, South Vietnam.
Province code 04. Country code VS.
Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam.
UTM grid reference is ZC006081
Province code 22. Country code VS.
Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam.
UTM grid reference is XT389626
[ Died on 17 March 1966 following abdominal surgery at 106th U.S. Army Hospital ]
[ Died on 23 March 1967 at 106th U.S. Army Hospital 5 days after evacuation from site of accident ]
14 persons are in this event group
[i.e., 14 persons died in the same attack]
[ Reported missing on 8 March 1969, body recovered and 10 March 1969
SvcRec extract - LBJ LOC not found. CIL 40431 indicates died at 106th Gen Hosp, Yokohama Japan. Gravemarker 529 Ord Co is wrong. Korea, RVN DA2496 (LBJ 67) injured 18Mar setting WP boobytrap; GraveApp (Box 150) 5th SF Grp - Died 106th Gen Hosp, Yokohama, Japan (CIL 689). WW2, Korea, RVN DA2496 (RMN 44); CIL 25542; RoR 02881 - MACV Summary TT 168300010787.pdf p29
On the Wall at:
Panel 06E Line 018 Panel 17E Line 027 Panel 30W Line 076
DD Form 2496
Individ died in Japan as the result of burns which occurred in Vietnam on 18 March 1967 while he was setting up trip wire on white phosphorus grenade and the pin pulled out setting off grenade. Individual died from wound received at aircraft landing zone when engaged [with] hostile forces.
Expression Meaning
Unparsed Unit

Agency Notes: At an individual level it is sometimes difficult to determine what an individual's unit was or which unit should be listed. For instance, Army Medics were assigned to HHC of their infantry battalion but lived, fought with, and for all practical purposes were members of a platoon within a rifle company in the battalion. Artillery Forward Observation personnel were normally assigned to an artillery battery in an artillery battalion but were attached to a rifle company within an infantry battalion. And many individuals were routinely assigned to one unit but were attached to another unit for training or temporary duty. Verbatim unit/ship description not separated into company/battalion/regiment or similar format, OR when combined with "more research" in ACTUAL field means that the unit description is incomplete or apparantly erroneous, OR when combined with "more research" in ACTUAL field means that the unit cannot be determined from the source information eg "retired".

NARA Notes: It appears that as research on unit information is completed, and the unit heirarchy is filled in, the authors no longer use this field. Additionally, the information in this field is not in a standardized format.Central Identification Laborary in Hawaii, where the bodies of deceased soldiers were processed

Abbreviations Meaning
CIL Central Identification Laborary in Hawaii, where the bodies of deceased soldiers were processed
DA 2496 Department of Army Form 2496, Army Disposition Form prepared by Army Adjutant General's Office
DD, DoD Department of Defense
DD 1077 Department of Defense Form 1077, Collection Point Register of Deceased Personnel, image or transcription, compiled by officials collecting remains of deceased personnel at location of remains
FSB Fire Support Base
Fire Base (FB), Forward Support Base, Forward Staging Base
May include or be called a Landing Zone (LZ)
LBJ 123 Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, Letters of Condolences Files box number
MACV U.S.Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
RoR Register of Remains, aka Collection Point Register of Deceased Personnel, DD Form 1077, image or transcription
RMN 123 Richard Milhous Nixon Presidential Library, Letters of Condolences Files box number
SF Special Forces
SvcRec Military Service Record, DD Form 214
TT Texas Tech Vietnam Project archives document, PDF file bearing TT's call number
UTM Universal Transverse Mercator grid coordinates

"Sample Values" of "Cause of Death" field

Accidental Homicide
Accidental Self-Destruction
Aircraft Loss/Crash Not at Sea
Explosive Device (Grenade, Mine, Booby Trap, etc.)
Gunshot or Small Arms Fire
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarcation [sic = Infarction], Coronary Thrombosis, etc.)
Illness/Disease (Other Than Malaria & Hepatitis)
Intentional Homicide
Multi-Fragment Wounds
Other Accident
Other Causes
Unknown or Not Reported
Vehicle Loss/Crash

Accidental self-destruction

As one of my specialities has been suicide and other self-destructive behaviors, I was very curious about the the category "accidental self-destruction". The death of Master Sergeant Paul Ames Conroy Jr. (1923-1967), who died as a patient at the 106th General Hospital, was attributed to this cause.

Records show that Conroy was born on 30 July 1923 and died on 23 March 1967 while assigned to the Medical Holding Company of the 106th General Hospital. Patients at the 106th were assigned to this company as a matter of keeping track of where they were while they were being treated.

The description the circumstances of his death, as posted on the Find a Grave website, along with a photograph of his headstone, reads as follows.

WWII and Vietnam Veteran. First enlisted in the Army 25 Mar 1943 in Utica, New York. During the Vietnam War he was assigned to Recon Team Maine (Forward Operating Base-1), CCN, MACV-SOG, 5TH SF GROUP, USARV and detached to C & C Detachment, Kham Duc, Nung Camp, Ops 35, South Vietnam. He was killed when a white phosphorus grenade exploded in his hand during a training exercise.

Together We Served similarly states "Killed when a white phosphorus grenade exploded in his hand during a training exercise" but also states "mortally injured 18.3.1967 by WP grenade during training Kham Duc, South Vietnam".

The Combat Area Casualties Current File includes the following information.

The Coffelt Database of Vietnam Casualties states "Tour Start Date: 15 Aug 1966, CN: Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), Unit: MHC 106th GH, Service Occupation: 32Q3U".

Casualty Data:
Casualty codes: C2-R-7
C2 = Non-hostile, died of illness or injury.
 R = Accidental self-destruction.
 7 = Ground casualty.

Casualty Location:
Province code 04. Country code VS.
Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam.
UTM grid reference is ZC006081


DA2496 (LBJ 67) injured 18Mar setting WP boobytrap; GraveApp (Box 150) 5th SF Grp - Died 106th Gen Hosp, Yokohama, Japan (CIL 689). WW2, Korea, RVN

"CIL" refers to the Central Identification Laborary in Hawaii, where the bodies of deceased soldiers were processed.

A scan of Conroy's DA 2496 -- an Army Disposition Form prepared by the Army AG's Office, describes the circumstances of his death as follows.

Individ died in Japan as the result of burns which occurred in Vietnam on 18 March 1967 while he was setting up trip wire on white phosphorus grenade and the pin pulled out setting off grenade.

So a 5th Special Forces Group 22-year veteran, demonstrating how to set up a trip-wire grenade, makes a mistake, blows himself up, and ends up at the 106th, where he dies of his accidently self-inflicted wounds,


Lynn Arrowsmith (1966-1968)

"What am I going to do now?"

Danny Kaye Danny Kaye in Japan, January 1954
"Danny Kaye in Japan smiles and holds hand of young Japanese woman while he balances teacup in other hand"
Photograph and caption copped from Library of Congress
The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection
Danny Kaye Danny Kaye at Tachikawa Air Base, circa October 1967
"Danny Kaye talks to an injured GI at the Casualty Staging Flight unit, Tachikawa Air Base, Japan"
Photograph and caption copped from the Library of Congress
The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection

↑ Note Kaye's clothes ↓

Danny Kaye 2 November 1967 USAF letter
"Regarding photographs taken during Danny Kaye's visit to the Casualty Staging Flight unit, Tachikawa Air Base, Japan."
Copped from Library of Congress
The Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Collection
Lynn Arrowsmith with Danny Kaye Lynn Arrowsmith with Danny Kaye at Kishine
"Celebrities often visited the wounded in the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama, Japan. But actor Danny Kaye, right, was the only one who visited the burn unit on the third floor, while former U.S. Army Lt. Lynn Hamilton [nee Arrowsmith] was stationed there. Kaye spent a lot of time visiting the wounded men, she said.
(Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Hamilton)
Photograph and caption copped from The Desert Sun
Lynn Arrowsmith highschool Lynn Arrowsmith in highschool
Incoming student, Hammond High School
Yearbook, Dunes, 1960, page 135
Screen capture from

Lt. Lynn S. Arrowsmith, now Hamilton, happened to be on duty when Danny Kaye (1913-1987) visited the 106th General Hospital during her tour at Kishine Barracks between 1966 and 1968.

Kaye first came to Japan to entertain Occupation Forces in October 1945. He made may trips to Japan, including a trip in January 1954, his first of several visits to Asian countries related to his appointment as a UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) Ambassador at Large. His earliest UNICEF tours involved him in promotions in local food, vaccination, and medical treatment projects in countries like India (malaria, DDT [dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, aka drop-dead-twic] dusting, BCG [Bacille Calmette-Guérin] tuberculosis vaccinations, malnutrition), Japan (polio), Korea (powdered milk), Burma (maternal and child welfare centers, diet and nutrition, smallpox vaccination, malaria), Thailand (yaws, penicillin).

Library of Congress archives

The Library of Congress has a large collection of materials related to Danny Kay and his lyricist-cum-composer wife Sylvia Fine (1913-1991). The photograph collection includes several shots of Kaye with injured or wounded military personnel at the Casualty Staging Flight unit at Tachikawa Air Base. In these photos, he is wearing the same shirt, pants, and belt -- and face -- as he is wearing in the photograph of him with Arrowsmith. Presumably he made a sweep of major U.S. military medical facilities in the Kanto area on the same day, the date of which is not reported on the LOC data.

Arrowsmith in her teens

Arrowsmith was active in grade school and high school as a spelling bee contestant and choir singer. An article on the front page of the Sunday, 7 April 1957 edition of The Harold Times, a Hammond-East Chicago, Indiana paper, reporting the winners of a spelling bee the paper co-sponsored, listed Lynn Arrowsmith of Lanler School among the top three 7th graders after the mispelling of "supersonic" and "pinnacle". This qualified her to compete in the finals.

In 1963, after starting college, she was installed in the Gamma Nu Chapter of the Kappa Kappa Kappa (Tri Kappa) sorority, an Indiana philanthropic organization headquartered in Hammond (The Harold Times, 23 June 1963, page E-6).

Lynn S. Arrowsmith Hamilton Collection

The Veterans History Project at American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress lists an oral history contribution called the Lynn S. Arrowsmith Hamilton Collection (AFC/2001/001/98853). The collection consists of a DVD with an 2001 interview of Hamilton, who the library's database shows to have served as a burn unit nurse at the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama, Japan, from 1966-1968, as an officer Army Nursing Corps whose highest rank was 1st Lieutenant, of the during the Vietnam War (officially 1961-1975)


Desert Sun report

The following excerpts are from a very long report by Sherry Barkas, based on an interview with Hamilton, titled Vietnam War nurse treated men burned on battlefields. The report was posted in the 19 January 2015 on The Desert Sun, the web-based news site that serves Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley in California.

The report, apparently filed on 17 January, originally appeared with different photographs in the Sunday, 18 January 2015 broadsheet edition of the The Desert Sun (page A25), under the shorter and sweeter headline Vietnam War nurse aided burned soldiers (see below). Both versions of the report note that Arrowsmith graduated with a BS in nursing from Washington University in St. Louis in June 1966. The broadsheet version additionally notes that Lynn Hamilton later earned a master's degree in nursing from an undisclosed school.

Lynn Arrowsmith Desert Sun Vietnam War nurse aided burned soldiers
The Desert Sun, 18 January 2015, page A25
Broadsheet version of report by Sherry Barkas
Thumbnail copped from

The Desert Sun
[ web edition ]

9:48 a.m. PST
January 19, 2015

Vietnam War nurse treated men burned on battlefields

By Sherry Barkas

Joining the United States Army and serving in the Vietnam War wasn't in Lynn Arrowsmith Hamilton's life plan when she graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in June 1966 with a bachelor of science degree in nursing.

[ . . . ]

By Christmas 1966, she was in Japan serving with the 106th General Hospital on the outskirts of Yokohama.

[ . . . ]

The hospital base was comprised of gray, three-story buildings that surrounded a huge landing pad painted with a big red cross -- a bullseye entry point for helicopters ferrying in the injured men already categorized as seriously or very seriously ill.

"gray, three-story buildings that surrounded a huge landing pad painted with a big red cross --
a bullseye entry point for helicopters ferrying in the injured men already categorized as seriously or very seriously ill."

To what extent Arrowsmith said things that encouraged the writer to characterize Kishine Barracks this way is anyone's guess. Eyewitnesses are apt to misreport details, and journalists are notoriously gifted at confounding reported details.

  1. The buildings were not exactly gray. They definitely looked dirty. And even freshly painted, they would quickly look dirty, given the dirty air to which they -- and everyone's lungs -- were exposed.
  2. The 2 buildings to the south of paved square marked for the helicopters were 3-story and 4-story barracks. The 2 buildings immediately to the west were 4-story barracks. The 1-story mess hall was to the north. All the buildings to the south were 2-story or 1-story.
  3. There was no "big red cross" bullseye on the tarmac when I was there, and none of the later aerial or other photographs that I have seen show one.
  4. Most of the patients were injured or wounded, not ill. "Seriously" or "very seriously" ill was not necessarily a criterion for evacuation to Japan.

Each chopper brought in up to nine patients.

"The deafening 'thwak, thwak, thwak' of helicopter blades dominated life, day and night, and became even more insistent a year later, beginning January 1968, with the Tet offensive -- by chance, the midpoint of my tour," Hamilton said.

[ . . . ]

The base was staffed by doctors, nurses, medical corpsmen and administrative and support staff. There were dorms and a chow hall, but few other amenities and no dependents or families lived on the compound. And there were no elevators.

"So it wasn't built for transporting patients up and down steps and that's what they had to do," she said.

Kishine Barracks was designed with most "amenities" in mind. There was a PX, gym, movie theater, swimming pool, baseball field, and even a chapel. Until the arrival of the 106th General Hospital, there were limited accommodations for the families of military personnel coming to Yokohama on R&R.

"there were no elevators"

In early 1966, shortly after the 106th arrived, elevators were built between Buildings A and B, and between Buildings C and D, which were relatively close together (see Renovations and new construction at Kishine Barracks for details).

The stairs were wide enough to carry patients up and down them. Even after the elevators were built, because they were between the buildings, some patients were carried up and down the stairs if it was just a matter of moving a patient to another floor -- depending, of course, on the patient's conidion. You just needed lots of muscle, and you needed to be careful.

The flights to the hospital from Vietnam were four-to-six hours.

[ . . . ]

"With tissue exposed -- and, after all, in such messy and dirty circumstances -- body fluids leak, tissue swells and lethal germs thrive. Now, breathing problems and infection were the enemies for these 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds. Next to immediate, life-saving measures, cleaning was vital," Hamilton said about the first steps in care when they arrived.

[ . . . ]

"Fluid balance is so tricky," she said of burn patients.

[ . . .

The 60-bed unit -- which covered the entire second floor of the hospital -- ultimately became an extension of the Army's burn center in San Antonio, Texas, Hamilton said.

[ . . . ]

"I didn't have a lot of time to sit at a bedside and talk, but I do remember one night a young man ... who was blinded along with his other injuries. He was alert and talking to me and saying, 'What am I going to do now? I'm a shrimper from Louisiana and I don't know what I'm going to do,'" Hamilton recalled.

"And, of course, I had no answer for him, but I'm glad I sat with him."

The wounded usually stayed 90-to-120 days.

"The wounded usually stayed 90-to-120 days"

This is not true. In 1968, the average patient at the 106th General Hospital stayed about 18 days -- all of 2 and 1/2 weeks.

The 106th was not a convalescent hospital. Long stays would have entirely compromised its mission -- as a "communication zone" evacuation facility midway between the combat zone in Vietnam and the United States -- to return soldiers to duty within a couple of weeks to a month if possible -- if not, then to send them to the United States for longer-term care.

The stays of patients with the least prospects of returning to Vietnam were the shortest.
The average length of stay was inversely proportional to the severity of the condition.

Major burn patients averaged the shortest at less than 9 days in 1968. Fractured femur patients averaged the longest stay at 32.5 days. Patients admitted for malaria, hepatitus, and psychiatry averaged 22 minus, 27 minus, and 21 plus days -- longer than all surgical patients, with the exception of those with fractured femurs.

See Hospitalization above for a detailed breakdown of average stay by surgical or medical condition.

[ . . . ]

"I remember only one time that a family member came in. On the staircase, I encountered a young wife who had made the trip over," Hamilton said.

"I was so impressed that she had done that; it was just unheard of. I knew who she was talking about when she was talking about her husband and I spent a few minutes with her to warn her that he would not look like she remembered him.

"He was wrapped up like a mummy; a lot of them were. I remember thinking how brave she was to do all this. . . . I walked her over and introduced her. Well, recently my head nurse there at the time wrote to me and said, 'I'm reading a book called Blue Eyed Boy' and it's a memoir of a burn patient who was very disfigured and spent time in this unit. So I went to this book and he mentions his wife coming and how supportive she was and how helpful."

For a look at Blue Eyed Boy and its author, Robert Timberg, see Robert Timberg (1967) below.

She returned to Japan in 1981 for a visit and went back to the hospital site, today a park with no sign the facility ever existed.

"A military spokesman nearby told me, 'Oh, no, there never was a hospital there.' I don't even think the American people know that we had a 1,000-bed hospital, all Vietnam casualties, in Yokohama," she said.

See my remarks below about people not knowing that Kishine Park had once been a military base.

Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas reports on veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars. She can be reached at or (760) 778-4694. Follow her on Twitter @TDSsherry


Hepatitis in Vietnam and Japan

A soldier, Danny Kaye, and a nurse at the 7th Field Hospital

There are many photographs of celebrities with hospitalized soldiers. They are taken and circulated, of course, for publicity purposes.

The response of male soldiers to VIP visitations, and their reactions to the TLC (tender loving care) they received from some of the female nurses, does not necessarily get reported. The reaction of one soldier appears in the 1st of the 13 oral histories published under the title Vietnam Was All Our Lives -- An Oral History by Clark C. Smith on the The Clark Smith Papers website.

During the Vietnam War, Smith was an editor of an anti-war newspaper called The Ally: A Newspaper for Servicemen, which was published in Berkeley, California. Smith received a PhD in history from the University of California at Berkeley, and according to his biographical profile, "For some years he was an assistant professor in the Department of Rhetoric at UCB teaching the analysis of American Political Rhetoric, the Rhetoric of European Ideologies and the Rhetoric of Constitutional Discourse."

The Ally was published as a tabloid-sized periodical from February 1968 (No. 1) to July/Agust 1972 (No. 41). According to the Smith Collection website, it was "distributed by GI's on military bases in the United States, in Europe and Japan, and among the troops in South Vietnam." After the United States withdrew from Vietnam , Smith began interviwing veterans recently returned from the war. The "interviews are now housed at the Oral History Research Office, Columbia University, and are included in the Clark Smith Papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society", according to Smith Collection website.

The following episode dramatizes why military hospitals in Japan also had wards full of medical rather than surgicial patients evacuated from Vietnam.

The [bracketed comments] and the titles are as received. The arrangment of the titles and the highlighting are mine.

The Clark Smith Papers

Vietnam Was All Our Lives -- An Oral History

By Clark Smith

1. Airborne: Steve Hassna [March 1967 - July 1968]

[ . . . ]

While I'm out in the brush, out in the dirt, I come down with hepatitis simply because of the living conditions. I walked around with infectious hepatitis for two weeks carrying a 65-pound rucksack. I was jaundiced, the whites of my eyes were brown, my urine was black. At one point I sat right down on top of my rucksack and cried. I told my friend, Billy C. Bryles, "I can't do this no way, man! I can't do this no more, pal." And he said, "You've got to!" So I stopped crying, picked up my rucksack and me and him and the rest moved off. I walked around in the jungle for another week and a half. Then we were brought back to the rear for a standdown. When guys come back the rear for a couple of days and lay up, they drink beer, get laid, masturbate, whatever else there was to do.

When I was out in the field, I'd go up to the medic in the mornings. Everybody would be kind of groggy, but I'd grab him by the shirt and say, "Look at this!" Then I'd whip it out and pee right there in front of him, and its black like Coca Cola. And he'd say, "Oh, here, here's a couple of Darvon [analgesic prescribed for pain]. So when I got back to the rear, the medic says, "You'd better go on sick call. You don't look too good." So I walked into the battalion aid station and the medic there said, "Piss in the bottle, please." He knew. So I pee in the bottle and bring it back to him.

"Where'd you get this?"

"I just pissed that!"

"Lay down on a cot. Don't move. Relax."

He goes and gets the doctor. When the doctor gets there, he takes one look at me and calls together all the medics in the battalion. The company medics were assigned to the battalion aid station. I mean that each company in the battalion was called and told, "I want every medic you got, HERE, NOW!"

When they got there, he chewed their ass. He yelled, "I don't want to see this happen again!" I'm laying there on the cot, thinking, 'What's this?' I'm really tired and I can't move too well. But I really don't know what's happening. This scene is new to me, too, and I listen to the doctor tell the medics he doesn't want to see this again. Well, fine, what does this mean? What's going to happen to me? Finally, the doctor told me, "First, we're going to send you to Qui Nhon. You'll be in an isolation ward for three weeks until your blood count is normal and this infectious hepatitis leaves you. Then we're going to send you to a nice hospital in Japan for bed rest because you're so sick."

The doctor is chastizing the medics for allowing a soldier who reports symptoms and shows signs of hepatitis to go untreated. The spread of any debiliting contageous disease in a combat or support unit could jeopardize a mission. The NVA and VC were not the only enemies.

I got hepatitis in September [1967] and was sent to the 7th Field Hospital, Johnson Annex, Yakota Air Force Base, Japan. While I was in the hospital Danny Kaye came around and danced for us a little bit. "Keep up the good work, you know?" Fuck that! Also, there was a nurse that would come through in the morning. She'd have the top two buttons of her uniform unbuttoned. She'd be wearing a whole lot of makeup and perfume and that. She had large breasts and she'd lean across you and tell you to wake up so that when you turned, you stuck your face right in her cleavage. Then she'd go, "Oh!"

One morning she came through, leaned across and played that little game with me that she'd been playing on a lot of men in the ward. But I reached up and grabbed with both hands, one on each breast. And she -- "Oh!" -- "oooo." I said, "Well then, don't stick them in my face! Damn it, I'm sleeping. I ain't bothering you. You won't let me out of this fucking room, but you come and stick your tits in my face at seven in the morning." She got mad and went and told the doctor. He came down and told me, "Don't talk to the nurses like that!" I said, "Send me back to my unit. Get me outa here. I want to go back to my unit." I think her behavior was an exception to the rule and the rule was that Army nurses were righteous. They did a hell of a job. But what was happening to me was the I was relating to my home as my unit. That's a problem. I didn't feel right unless I was in my squad on a trail somewhere. You see?

[ . . . ]


John Burnam (1966-1967)

Evacuees who returned to Vietnam

I know of no surveys of soldiers evacuated from Vietnam to any military hospital regarding whether they wanted to go home or return to Vietnam. I recall a few patients who looked forward to reuniting with their units in Vietnam, but my general impression was that most were not excited about the prospects of being in combat again.

Michael Caines, an informant who himself passed through the 106th with burns severe enough to warrant his transfer back to the United States after his condition had been stabilized, tells me that a good friend of his, with whom he later worked in civilian life, passed through Kishine twice (see below).

John C. Burnam -- another wounded soldier who was evacuated to Kishine -- tells a very different story of how he eventually returned to Vietnam in A Soldier's Best Friend, one of the books he would write about a life in the Army that he never anticipated when he enlisted in 1965. The book includes an entire chapter on his experiences as a patient at the 106th General Hospital in 1966, and what changed his life after his release in January 1967.

John C. Burnam, MSG USA (RET.)
A Soldier's Best Friend: Scout Dogs and Their Handlers in the Vietnam War
New York: Basic Books, 2003
New York: Union Square Press, 2008
Chapter 5 (2003 pages 75-83, 2008 ?-71)
Chapter 6 (2003 pages 84-92, 2008 pages 72-78)

In the following extracts, the [bracketed remarks] and highlighted comments are mine.

John Burnam's journey from
Vietnam to Vietnam by way of
Kishine Barracks and Okinawa

Burnam 2003 2003 Basic Books edition
Burnam 2003 2008 Union Square edition

A Soldier's Best Friend

By John C. Burnam

Excerpts from John C. Burnam, A Soldier's Best Friend
(Page numbers refer to 2008 Union Square Press edition)

Chapter Five

Wounded in Action

[ From page 67 ]

The army shipped me by train from Denver to Fort Leonard, Missouri, for basic training, then to Fort Ord, California, for advanced infantry training, and finally to Fort Benning, Georgia, for paratrooper training. After graduating from paratrooper school in February 1966, I was ordered to Vietnam with no specific unit of assignment listed on my paperwork. I was shocked, as I'd had no idea there was a war going on in Vietnam or where on Earth that country was located. I asked lots of questions, but learned little to satisfy my curiosity. I wouldn't have enlisted had I known I'd be sent off to fight in a war, but it was too late -- I was now a soldier and I belonged to Uncle Sam.

Burnam, armed with his own M16 and ammunition, several grenades, and ammunition for an M60 machine gun on an infantry mission as a member of one of three 10-man squads, jumped from a hovering helicopter into some elephant grass, directly onto a punji stick that pierced his right knee, entering below the kneecap and exiting the other side. Eventually he was put on a helicopter with two other wounded soldiers and evacuated to a field hospital in Qui Nhom, from which he says he was evacuated to "a hospital that had better facilities for reconstructive knee surgery." His only recurring thought, he writes, was "Will I survive this wound and walk normally again?"

Chapter Six

106 General Hospital

[ From page 72 ]

Feeling relieved to be in a country that wasn't at war, I arrived at the 106 U.S. Army General Hospital in Kashini Barracks [sic = Kishine Barracks], Yokohama, Japan. The hospital was situated in a former World War II Japanese Army installation. Tall barbed-wire fence surrounded the entire compound. Armed U.S. Army military policemen dressed in heavily starched khaki uniforms, and sporting highly polished black boots, were stationed at the entrance and exit to the base.

I was assigned to Orthopedic Ward D on the second floor of one of the old buildings. . . .

. . .

After I got comfortable, a nurse and a doctor came by to give me a complete examination. They introduced themselves as Dr. George Bogumill and Nurse Nancy Jones. . . .

[ From pages 76-77 ]

Recovered well enough not to need crutches or a cane, I got a liberty pass to Yokohama, the city right outside our military compound. I had to follow the rules and return to the hospital before dark. Civilian clothes weren't authorized for patients, so I was issued a khaki military uniform, a hat, and a pair of shoes. I signed a partial-pay voucher for fifty dollars and suddenly felt rich.

No patient was authorized to go off the base alone. We had to use the buddy system, so I teamed up with another patient; we caught a cab outside the gate, and off we went. The Japanese cab driver spoke enough English to ask, "Where to?"

"Downtown," we replied.

He nodded, and drove to what looked like the main street near a pier full of boats and ships; there was a fish market nearby.

The streets of Yokohama were crowded with people going about their usual business. The Japanese women wore colorful kimonos; the men were in street clothes and suites. . . . The Japanese acted as though we weren't there. I guess they were used to seeing American servicemen on the streets. . . .

. . .

[ From page 78]

While in the hospital, I'd written many letters home, mentioning the possibility that I might be discharged. I'd told people to start planning my homecoming party. Now I had to write and tell everyone to put away the party hats. The army was going to keep me on active duty in the Pacific.

Even if I wasn't going home, the news that I'd soon be leaving the hospital made me extremely happy. I'd soon leave Japan for an assignment in Okinawa. Little did I know that my new assignment would change my life in a totally unexpected way.

I'd soon be meeting my first war dog.

[ End Chapter Six ]

Burnam was released from the 106th in January 1967 with a Combat Infrantyman Badge and a Purple Heart, and assigned to a chemical company in Okinawa that needed German shepherd sentry dog handlers. Okinawa, which had been captured and occupied by the United States during the Pacific War, was still under U.S. administration, and would not be returned to Japan until 1972. After he was trained as the handler of a scout dog named Clipper, Burnam and Clipper were sent to Vietnam, where Clipper and he led compat patrols, alert for wire-tripped booby traps and other hazards, including enemy soldiers waiting in ambush.


Edward Lawson (1966-1968)

Many visits since 1st in 1973

"In memory of our patients. 106th Gen Hosp. Kishine, Yokohama, Japan"

Edward Lawson, of Ogden Utah, served as a 1st lieutenant ANC in the infection disease and neurology wards from 31 December 1966 to 31 October 1968. He posted a number of messages on, including this one, dated 28 April (year uncertain, viewed 2014).

. . . I was at Kishine from 31 Dec '66, to 31 Oct '68. I, too worked briefly in infectious diseases, under Maj. Cunningham and Neuro, under Cpts Williams, and Bosquet. SFC Martinez was our wardmaster. I was an Lt. ANC, and all the things they say about new LTs is true. I was a new Registered Nurse, and a new officer, a most dangerous combination. I have been back to Kishine many times. While stationed there, I met, and married Masako. We have been married for 37 years next month. In one of your narratives, yoiu [sic] spoke of the lack of memorial for what transpired on that hallowed ground. Some years ago, I had a set of dog tags made with the inscription "In memory of our patients. 106th Gen Hosp. Kishine, Yokohama, Japan." I placed it down inside the mechanism of the flagpole that is, oddly enough, pretty near where the old flag poles were. It fell down inside, so I don't think anyone will disturb it. In '89, on our trek to the base of Everest, I placed another dogtag memorial on the summit of Kala Pattar, a small 18,400 foot hill, across from, and 1000 feet above the base camp. In '96, another placement, on the summit of Kilimanjaro, 19,340 ft. And, of course, in '98, on the summit of Fuji-San, at 12,280 ft. The memorials are placed in the rocks, where no one can find, desecrate, or remove them. Rest assured, my friend, that the patients, those who served, and our unit are remembered. My email is: I have had contact with Maj. Jim Solo through this site, and still communicate regularly with my best friends from those days, Cpts John Pack and Maurice Sigler. I wish you well, thanks for all you did back then. Who knows? You probablly kept this young (now old) Lt. from making too many mistakes. Arigato, kyodai. Ed Lawson


Robert Timberg (1967)

From Da Nang to Kishine via Clark

Robert Timberg's Blue-Eyed Boy, his account of how he dealt with the disfigurement that resulted from burns he incurred in Vietnam, may be the most widely reviewed and acclaimed book of any written by someone who had been a patient at the 106th General Hospital.

Robert Timberg
Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir
New York: Penguin Books, 2014 (hardcover), 2015 (paper cover)
320 pages

Timberg gives many pages to the two months he spent at Kishine, and the manner in which his wife came to Japan, invaded the burn unit, and practically took over his treatment. He describes his wife as someone who was "not, she made clear, a Marine wife but a fully independent and liberated woman who just happened to be married to a Marine."

Timberg's wife, calling from the United States, managed to reach the 106th's burn unit and speak directly with the doctor taking care of him. She had no ear for his request that that she not come to Japan to see him. Within days she was there, and she prevailed on the 106th's commanding officer to let her see her husband. She also insisted, contrary to standard procedure, that she be allowed to see what was left of his face beneath the bandages -- but only after first seeing photographs.

Timberg states that the 106th General Hospital was "widely known as Kishine (pronounced ki-sheenie Barracks". This testifies to the most common misspelling of Kishine as "Kishini" -- which is, as Timberg, says, pronounced "key-she-knee". But "Kishine" is pronounced key-she-na[y] (just the "na" of "nay" or the "ne" of "neigh").

The following text is the promotional blurb on the back of the paper cover edition.

For a recollection of Timberg on the burn ward, and his wife's visit, see Lynn Arrowsmith (1966-1968) above.

Timberg 2014 2014 hardcover edition Timberg 2015 2015 paper cover edition

Acclaimed journalist Robert Timberg's extraordinary, long-awaited memoir of his struggle to reclaim his life and find his calling after being severely burned as a young Marine lieutenant in Vietnam.

In January 1967, Robert Timberg was a short-timer, counting down the days until his combat tour ended. He had thirteen days to go before he got to go back home to his wife in Southern California. That homecoming would eventually happen, but not in thirteen days, and not as the person he once was. The moment his vehicle struck a Vietcong land mine divided his life into before and after.

He survived, barely, with third-degree burns over his face and much of his body. It would have been easy to give up. Instead, Robert Timberg began an arduous and uncertain struggle back -- not just to physical recovery, but to a life of meaning. Remarkable as his return to health was -- he endured thirty-five operations, one without anesthesia -- just as remarkable was his decision to reinvent himself as a journalist and enter one of the most public of professions. Blue-Eyed Boy is a gripping, occasionally comic account of what it took for an ambitious man, aware of his frightful appearance but hungry for meaning and accomplishment, to master a new craft amid the pitying stares and shocked reactions of many he encountered on a daily basis.

By the 1980s, Timberg had moved into the upper ranks of his profession, having secured a prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard and a job as White House correspondent for The Baltimore Sun. Suddenly his work brought his life full circle: the Iran-Contra scandal broke. At its heart were three fellow Naval Academy graduates and Vietnam-era veterans, Oliver North, Bud McFarlane, and John Poindexter. Timberg's coverage of that story resulted in his first book, The Nightingale's Song, a powerful work of narrative nonfiction that follows these three academy graduates and two others -- John McCain and Jim Webb -- from Annapolis through Vietnam and into the Reagan years.

In Blue-Eyed Boy, Timberg relates how he came to know and develop a deep understanding of these five men, and how their stories helped him understand the ways the Vietnam War and the furor that swirled around it continued to haunt him, and the nation as a whole, as they still do even now, nearly four decades after its dismal conclusion.

Like others of his generation, Robert Timberg had to travel an unexpectedly hard and at times bitter road. In facing his own life with the same tools of wisdom, human empathy, and storytelling grit he has always brought to his journalism, he has produced one of the most moving and important memoirs of our time.


Jacobs 2013 Chapter 5 Jacobs 2013   Stained with the Mud of Khe San
  Chapter 5
  Japan: 106th General Hospital,
  Ward F-4, Yokohama:
  Letters 134-146
  May 1967 to June 1967
  Introduction, pages 200-201
  Click on imgage of text to enlarge

Rodger Jacobs (1967)

"Never so alive as when fighting death"

Rodger Jacobs (b1946) was 20 years old when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in the fall of 1966. By spring the following year, he arrived at the 106th General Hospital with a shot-up hip -- via the Third Medical Batallion at Dong Ha in Vietnam and Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines.

Jacobs devotes an entire chapter in his book to 12 letters he wrote home between May and June 1967 while a patient at Kishine Barracks.

I have shown here an image of the introduction to his letters from the 106th (pages 200-201). The letters not only in this chapter, but throughout the book, and Jacobs' occasional comments looking back on his experiences 45 years later, are very interesting and worth the price of the book.

Rodger Jacobs
Stained with the Mud of Khe Sanh
A Marine's Letters from Vietnam, 1966-1967
Jefferson (NC): McFarland & Company, 2013
260 pages, paper cover, plus photographs

Introduction to Chapter 5
Japan: 106th General Hospital,
Ward F-4, Yokohama
Letters 134-146
Pages 200-222


Randall Tenney 2/503d VIETNAM Newsletter, 22 June 2011, Issue 29
Click on image to read or download this issue

Randall Tenney (1967)

"the ward looks like a nursery for children"

Soldiers reacted to their hospitalization in different ways. Randall Tenney, a forward observer in Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (173rd Airborne Brigade), admitted to the orthopedic ward, escaped from the pre-op ward with another patient, went on a rampage at the NCO club, woke up in restraints back in the orthopedic ward, and was slapped with an Article 15 for his escapades but kept his stripes.

Tenney was wounded in what was called the Battle of the Slopes, the subject of the 22 June 2011 special edition of the 2/503d VIETNAM Newsletter (Issue 29). He tells his own story on pages 27-30 of the 68-page issue, which can be read in very nicely presented on-line or pdf formats.

The newsletter is part of a truly huge archive of material related to "The Heritage Battalion". The 503rd goes back to the European and Pacific theaters of World War II. Its principle website -- -- takes its name from the unit's role in recapturing Corregidor in 1945 after an airborne invasion of the island. The website bills itself "A clearing house of quality information and historic resources unprecedented in scope, volume and detail, is not for three-hour tourists" and sees its mission as "Giving the 503d's past a future".

Corregidor was called "The Rock", and the 503rd PRCT [Parachute Regimental Combat Team] calls itself "The Rock Regiment". "The Rock" inspired "The Rock Patch", the first of several unofficial 503rd unit insignias. The heraldry of the insignia features an eagle grasping "The Rock" in its talons. Early versions were made by Filipino seamstresses. When the unit was transferred to Japan as part of the Occupation Army, the patches were made by Japanese seamstresses. Later they were made by American insignia companies.

The Battle of the Slopes

The date of the special edition of the newsletter marks the 22 June 1967 anniversary of the main part what the "Sky Soldiers" of the 2/503rd Airborne Infantry dubbed "The Battle of the Slopes". One witness wrote "These hills were actually mountains, steep, muddy and leech infested. We were usually under triple canopy jungles which made it appear dark and dreary."

The unit had arrived earlier in the month at Dak To in Kon Tum province in the Central Highlands of the Republic of Vietnam near its border with Laos and Cambodia and Laos. The area was a major site of entry into South Vietnam of North Vietnam forces moving south along the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail, which skirted the DMZ between North and South through Laos and the northeast corner of Cambodia. In November the same year, the area became the site of a series of engagements called the Battle of Dak To.

You can read more about the Battle of the Slopes, why many members of the 2/503rd were killed in action, and why Randy Tenney and others were wounded, in the 68-page newsletter. Without further ado, is Tenney's account of his adventures on and off the orthopedic ward at the 106th General Hospital in July and August 1967.

Randall Tenney First page of Tenney's 4-page article (Tenney is standing on right)
Click on image to read or download this issue
Clark 2012 Allen B. Clark
Valor in Vietnam
Philadelphia: Casemate Books, 2012
288 pages, hardcover
Randal Tenney appears in Chapter 8: Surrounded on Three Sides!
Clark, the author, then an officer in the Fifth Special Forces Group, "was wounded in an early-morning mortar attack on the Dak To Special Forces camp on June 17, 1967, that necessitated the amputation of both legs below his knees."
Forward Observer on Hill 1338 Forward Observer on Hill 1338
An unnamed A/3/319th Artillery officer tells another story about
action at Dak To and evacuation to the 106th General Hospital.
The report shows a color aerial photograph of the hospital.
Click on image to enlarge article

Randall Tenney, FO, A/2/503d

The U.S. Air Force C-130, four engine turbo-prop was parked on the runway at Pleiku. Its tailgate open, ready to receive the wounded. The C-130 was rigged so it could bear stretchers along both inboard and outboard sides, four rows in all, stretchers piled five high. Once inside the plane, my stretcher strapped and fastened, I thought of the Vietnamese boy at the hospital. The nurse had told me before my departure that the army was trying to have the boy flown to the States for a special operation that may prevent blindness. Without the operation he would surely go blind. I silently prayed that he would make the trip.

The forward section of the aircraft was rigged to handle ambulatory patients who now began boarding the aircraft. There were no indications of some of the patients being wounded from their physical appearance.

If you looked hard enough and long enough at their faces and eyes, one could detect an inner wound. Those wounds were complex and would take many months longer to heal than mere physical wounds. They were the wounded no one talks about, no purple hearts for these men, they were the psychological wounded. Now remnants of their former selves. Most were silent, sedated, and escorted by the corpsman or nurses who strapped them in their seats.

We're off -- a journey that would take its cargo to Yokota AFB, Japan. I remained asleep during the flight. After landing at Yokota, we are carried to waiting army ambulance buses that will transport us to the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama.

As we pass through the congested traffic of the large city's streets, I see Japanese businessmen, commuters, pedestrians, and storekeepers, not unlike any large city back home. As I look out the bus window, we pass a Coca-Cola plant. Is this the same country we were at war with 22 years ago?

I wonder what the Japanese people think as our wounded pass them, contained in large green buses bearing U.S. Army and displaying large red crosses on their sides.

The Japanese have in ways become our benefactors, we become their guests.

We now approach the gate guards and the entrance to the 106th. As we pull through the gates I see the hospital as a large complex -- looks more like a base than a hospital. We are soon unloaded, the air feels cool. It's in the 70's but 40 or so degrees cooler than where we came from. They carry us to different wards and different buildings as the nature of our wounds dictate.

I'm placed on an orthopedic ward which, from my view, is filled to capacity. The patients on the ward range from the critical to the hopeful and the near well. The men look different from the ones at the field hospital in Vietnam. Most are talking, some laughing, others are playing dominos and cards. They are noticeably much more full of life, most with the expectation of returning home.

I'm placed into a real hospital bed, unlike the Army cot at Pleiku M.A.S.H. The floors are even waxed and shining. For a brief moment I almost feel I'm home.

Soon a corpsman comes to my bed carrying a tray of tubes, some empty, some full of blood. No explanation was needed, I offered my good arm and he drew the blood. A nurse approaches and tells me I'll be transported to the pre-op ward in the morning, from there I'll go to surgery, recovery, and be taken back to this ward a new man. She then administers some shots, pulls the covers up, says, "See ya later."

As I wake up, a corpsman arrives with a gurney; he parks it next to my bed. I'm instructed to roll onto it and away we go.

Reaching the pre-op ward, they wheel me in and place me on another bed. The pre-op ward or portion thereof appears to be fully occupied. There are approximately 20 of us there -- ten or so beds along each wall. The nurse's station is at the end of the ward and is enclosed except for a large picture window that faces us. As I look toward the nurse's station, I realize I'm about five beds away from the window and halfway from the door I just entered.

Suddenly, someone touches me from behind. As I turn and look I'm taken by surprise. It's Sgt. Hostack! There he stands holding an IV pole with two IV's running, bandaged face and chest, in his hospital gown. Sgt. Hostack looks even shorter than I remember him as he is bent over at the waist where the top of his black crew cut shows more than his face. Sgt. Hostack is as glad to see me as I am to see him.

Sgt. Hostack and I are both chain smokers, both of whom have not had a cigarette in a long, long time. Without hesitation, Sgt. Hostack asks if I have a smoke. I inform Sgt. Hostack I do not have any cigarettes, that I am dressed as he and my gown has no pockets to contain cigarettes -- surely a government conspiracy.

The suggestion of nicotine has aroused our senses. Normal, rational men now become irrational. Sgt. Hostack's nature has changed from bad to worse. He complains about the conditions of the pre-op ward.

He tells me it's too clean, too sterile, no coffee, no smoking -- grown men should not be treated this way. The staff is insensitive to smokers, the ward looks like a nursery for children. The on-duty nurse is compared to a correctional officer. At this time, I look at the warden's windows. She is heavily engaged in paperwork. Sgt. Hostack also observes and suggests we make a break for it! I can't believe what I hear. "Hostack, you've got to be kidding?" "What's the matter, are you chicken?"

Now anyone knows from their school days, when someone calls you chicken, you're going to do it. Sgt. Hostack returns to his bed, disconnects his IV's looks toward the warden and makes his break. I'm thinking the old man will collapse without me, and I do the same. Once outside, I catch up to Hostack.

He looks strange in his hospital gown tied in back, bent at the waist, holding his belly and shuffling along. I grab him with my left arm, now free of its IV, supporting him as we negotiate unfamiliar territory. It was quite cool, this breeze that crept up our backsides. Still don't believe I'm doing this. Shit, it's cold out here.

About this time we are met by two NCOs, apparently assigned to the 106th. I want to run but remain loyal to Hostack, Goddamn him. He asks these NCOs if they have a smoke. They each offer us one. Once lit, the cigarette changes Hostack's disposition, he's almost human again. He carries on a conversation as if nothing has happened and asks the two if they could direct us to the NCO club. Shit, I've got to be dreaming this, what are they shooting us up with anyway?

NCOs are NCOs. Medics or patients, they're the same fraternalistic bunch. They'll cover for each other, lie for each other, and in this case, even harbor escaped fugitives from the pre-op ward. Through fate I was a member of this fraternity.

As we entered the NCO club, Hostack acted like a kid in a candy shop. A few eyebrows were raised, however no one had us removed. They more than likely thought Hostack and myself shell-shocked and didn't want the hassle.

The NCOs who escorted us sat at our same table, with Hostack's consent, of course. We were broke; Hostack tells them of the slopes, they begin to buy the drinks. Two Japanese waitresses carry the assorted drinks to the table. One waitress can carry four drinks; the other accompanies her friend out of curiosity's sake. They are quite taken by our appearance. As they sit on our laps I realize Hostack has a leg wound through his expression and vocabulary. My legs feel fine but I have a tilt in my kilt, so to speak, as the Japanese girl begins to laugh.

The night rolls on. Time is no longer of any importance. Drink after drink, my speech becomes impaired, my mouth turns to cotton, my thoughts are a mixture of 881 and the Japanese girl who sat in my lap. I can see Hostack's lips move but no longer hear him speak. I order one last, fatalistic drink.

881 refers to Article 81 (Conspiracy) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), The article, which is part of Sub Chapter 10 (Punitive Articles), provides as follows.

Any person subject to this chapter who conspires with any other person to commit an offense under this chapter shall, if one or more of the conspirators does an act to effect the object of the conspiracy, be punished as a court-martial may direct.

A waitress approaches cautiously and sets the special mixture of seven exotic layers of straight alcohol contained in a 16 ounce glass. I consume this volcanic delight in seconds. I am no longer a patient, no longer a non-commissioned officer; I am a cross between the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Rocky Marciano.

I do not remember arriving at my ward, I don't remember hitting the Captain, or was it a Major? I do remember waking up, my only good arm tied to the bed, my feet attached to the footboard with leather restraints. The patient next to me remarks that I put up one hell of a fight. I'm not proud, only ashamed, confused, hungover and hurt. My head is killing me, my shoulder just barely intact.

My guardian angel Hostack arrives, nurse at his side. They tell me not to worry; the alcohol had caused a flashback of the Slopes. Not much consolation to the Captain? Major? Whose condition I did not know. As things go, I was pretty lucky. The Major/Captain was okay; I got an Article 15 disciplinary action, small fine, Sergeant stripes still intact. The surgery was well done at a future date and the Army felt by September I'd be well enough to continue my second tour in Vietnam.

An Article 15 is any "non-judicial punishment" administered by a commanding officer under Article 15 (Commanding Officer's Non-Judicial Punishment) -- i.e., 815 -- of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The article is the sole article of Sub Chapter 3 (Non-Judicial Punishment).

In general, Article 15 authorizes a commanding officer to "in addition to or in lieu of admonition or reprimand, impose one or more [stipulated] disciplinary punishments for minor offenses without the intervention of a court-martial".

As I had the rest of July and August to attain the physical condition required for further combat, I divided my time between Japanese girls, Japanese spas, Japanese bath houses, Japanese hotels, Japanese bars, and intermittently, the 106th General Hospital.

Sgt. Hostack has been flown off to the states and I suddenly feel alone. I'm lying in bed feeling depressed when a corpsman comes up to me and asks if I know a certain machine gunner that told him he was with A Company at the Battle of the Slopes. The corpsman tells me what ward he's on and I go to visit him.

As I approached his bed, this Mexican-American and good friend looks my way. He has a turban bandage of gauze around his head. He tells me he was hit early in the battle. A bullet had penetrated the front of his helmet. The bullet had circumnavigated his helmet and liner, opened up his scalp, otherwise leaving his skull intact. He lost consciousness and apparently was hit by several more bullets as he lay there. One of the bullets struck his left arm. When he awoke, only the dead were his company, that is except one other wounded GI and hoards of North Vietnamese soldiers, most of whom were apparently drugged. The NVA began to shoot single shots through the heads of A Company men that showed the remotest sign of life. As this did not satisfy their hunger, they began to strip the dead and remove testicles. He lay there numb, bleeding, in horror of what he saw.

He expected the worst. The NVA approached him; he lay still, afraid to let his chest rise or fall. He felt his left arm being raised, there was no pain, his arm and hand swollen, infected. He felt them tug on his wedding band. They couldn't pull it off. He heard what reminded him of chicken bone breaking during preparation for cooking. He felt the wedding band come off, his finger with it.

He doesn't remember how long they stayed, he just remembers waking up and they were gone. He says he thought no one would find him; he'd bleed to death slowly. As he's telling me I look at his left arm and hand bandaged, draining blood. He continues and says he did not know there were still men of A Company left and that C Company were just out of reach a couple of hundred meters up the hill.

As dawn broke, he heard brush breaking, his M-16 rifle had been left, the NVA preferring their AK's left it behind. He grabs his M-16; he feels they have come back. He resigns to the fact he'll die, he'll take a few with him.

A figure steps toward him, he sees an oriental wearing a tiger suit, this oriental wears a GI-type helmet. People speak English behind him; the oriental is the Vietnamese interpreter for Charlie Company. He tells me he started to cry uncontrollably. As he tells me I see tears in his eyes, I have to leave. I go back to my ward.

When I get back, it's time for supper. I don't feel like eating. I think of my friends (76) now gone on those slopes. The 40 or so wounded stateside, the others somewhere at Dak To. This is my second tour; I haven't let things get to me until now. I become bitter, angry, resentful, and most of all revengeful. I eagerly await my return.

Another day arrives, the doctors have not removed the wire, staple-type, paper clip-sized sutures from my shoulder. I go to the latrine, look in the mirror, and remove them with scissors acquired while the nurse isn't looking. I feel as a boxer preparing for a championship fight. I no longer talk to anyone at the hospital, just the Japanese at Yokohama.

Weeks of physical therapy, I enjoy it, my shoulder growing stronger every day. I'll soon be ready. It's late August now, I'm informed I'll need all my overseas immunizations again as the army has no proof I'd had them before. I make my way through the hospital to the clinic. Before arriving, a nurse runs into me screaming, crying, she has just run off the burn ward. A young man, burnt over 80% of his body from napalm has died. The nurse, an RN, was comforting him during his agony and death. She swears his spirit departed in her presence as a haze and floated from his body to parts unknown. I hold her for a minute, her head on my shoulder, and call for help. Soldiers are not wars, only casualties.

Upon completion of my injections, I receive my new shot record card. I'm told not to lose it.

Another week passes. The anticipation of returning rises to new heights. Not only have I withdrawn from people, I have doubt about my religious beliefs. I see the men go to chapel and have an urge to go. Approaching the chapel, I stop short of entering. An uneasiness comes over me. I know what I must do when I return to Vietnam. I feel out of place at the chapel.

Sunday passes, I feel empty, drained from thoughts.

Early Monday morning a corpsman wakes me. He tells me to get my gear together, I'm leaving today. Mixed emotions of fear and revenge. Inside the turmoil tells me this time I won't be going home. I'm not afraid anymore, my mind and body seem ready for death, perhaps even desiring it.


Michael L. Caines (1967-1968)

Witnessing and remembering

According to Michael's own account, he arrived at the 106th General Hospital on Christmas Day 1967 and left for the United States on about the 16th of January 1968. He had been attached to the 198th Light Infantry Brigage, which was part of the Americal Division in Vietnam. On 20 December 1967, he received 2nd and 3rd degree burns on 30 percent of his body. By Christmas he was evacuated to the 106th General Hospital in Japan, and after his condition was stabilized, he was sent to the United States for further treatment and recovery.

Michael inspired all of the content on this site about veterans who came to the 106th from Vietnam, and who after recovering from their injuries returned to Vietnam to live or die another day. Michael's precise words, about a friend who was at the 106th twice, were as follows (email, 11 February 2016).

After the first injury, he was sent back to his unit in Vietnam, but the second time, he stepped on a land mine and blew off his right leg below the knee. I have known him for 50 years, and he has adapted well with his handicap.

Reading Michael's email about his friend, with whom he worked in the same job at a large papermill, led me create the Kishine stories section of this webpage, which I had not originally planned. And in many ways, the stories are the most important legacy of Kishine Barracks.

In a posting to The Wall of Faces (Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund), Caines paid tribute to a fellow soldier as follows (5 February 2007).

Remembering Monday, Nov. 6, 1967
Posted on 2/5/07 - by Michael L. Caines
I would like to take this opportunity to remember Ira Garner, who on 11-6-67 was taken from a place of war to a better place. I did not know Ira, but I did witness the helicopter crash landing that took his life.

The website of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) posted the following account of the crash, on 1 November 1967, of Boeing Chinook CH-47A helicopter, tail number 66-00083, based out of Di An, about 20 kilometers north of Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh city.

Helicopter CH-47A 66-00083

While on a night resupply mission, the sling load hit the ground causing the pilot to turn on the landing light. This revealed he was about to hit a tree. The aircraft hit a tree causing it to crash and burn.

According to VHPA's database, 2 of the flight's 5 crew members, gunners SP4 Louis Elton Armstead and SP4 Ira L. Garner -- and 2 of its 4 passengers, SP4 Karl Francis Rynearson and Major Charles Edward Weaver -- were "KIA" while the others aboard were "injured".

Technically, "KIA" should be reserved for "killed in action" in combat on a battlefield. But VHPA ambiguously uses it to mean also "killed in accident". Some people would argue that, under the circumstances, the only difference between "action" and "accident" is the spelling. But purple hearts are awarded only for injuries resulting from hostile fire in combat -- not from accidents, nor from hostile fire not in combat.

Garner died on 6 November 1967, 5 days after the accident, presumably of causes related to his burns. He was 20 years old. Some databases classify his death as a "casualty incident". Others call it an "accident" due to a "helicopter crash". KIA or not, Garner is appropriately memorialized on The Wall at 29E 030.


William Lee Mabee and Ichiko Takimoto (1967-1969)

A burn unit nurse and a dental aide exchange vows

The 106th General Hospital was a gated village. Everyone who entered Kishine Barracks -- as stationed military personnel, hired local nationals, or patients -- became a villager, who mingled with other villagers and became involved in the usual range of ordinary and extraordinary human relationships.

People who didn't get along avoided each other, or they argued or fought. Those who enjoyed each other's company formed friendships on and off base. And some romantic flings led to marriages of various durations (see below).

The marriage of Lieutenant William Lee Mabee (1945-2011), a Burn Unit nurse, to Ichiko Takimoto, who worked in the Dental Clinic as a dental aide in training, went the full "til death do us part" distance.

Mabee was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on 12 July 1945, died in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on 13 January 2011, and is buried in Rosehill Cemetery in Parker, South Dakota, not far from where his life in this world began.

Mabee was the principle author of the following report on a study he led with two colleagues. Their research centered on a quality assurance program Mabee was developing for the use of computers to collect, analyize, and report anesthesiological data, and facilitating the keeping of medical records and even billing -- in an age when "microcomupters" (today's "personal computuers") were rapidly being applied in all fields of medicine.

William L. Mabee, CRNA, Charles D. Sigwart, PhD, and Russell L. Rogers, BS (Edmore, Michigan)
Microcomputers and anesthesia
Journal of the Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Volume 54, Number 1, February 1986, pages 76-82

Mabee-Takimoto marriage Mabee-Takimoto Vows Exchanged
The New Era, Parker, South Dakota
Front page of 1 January 1970 New Years edition

William Lee "Bill" Mabee

William Lee Mabee died Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, in Hattiesburg, Miss. Bill had been hospitalized several times in the last two years with complications of coronary artery disease.

William Lee Mabee was born July 12, 1945, in Sioux Falls, SD, the son of Lee and Elma (Witte) Mabee. He grew up in Parker, graduating from Parker High School in 1963. After completing his undergraduate training in nursing he was commissioned and entered active duty in the U.S. Army.

During his tour on active duty he was stationed at the 106 General Army Burn Unit, Yokohama, Japan, where he met his future wife Ichico Takimoto. After returning to the US, Bill and Ichico were married at Fort Sam, Houston, TX, in December 1969.

Upon his discharge they moved to Rochester, MN, to the Mayo Clinic where Bill obtained his master's degree in Anesthesia and began a 32-year career as a Certified Nurse Anesthetist.

Bill and Ichico moved their growing family to Houghton, MI, and then to Windom, MN, where Bill provided anesthesia to several area hospitals. The last five years of Bill's practice were spent working "locums" at various hospitals across the US, eventually settling in Picayune, MI.

Bill is survived by his wife Ichico, Picayune, MI, two sons, Jason (Christianne), Kansas City, MO, and Judson (Hiroko), Los Angeles, CA; three grandchildren, Maxim, Sofia and Aya; brothers, Robert (Susan) Mabee and Dr. Lee (Donna) Mabee, both of Sioux Falls; and many nieces and nephews in the US and Japan.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents.
[Lee Maitland and Elma Mary (Withee) Mabee]

(Obituary text from Find a Grave)

Mabee obituary (From Mabee's parents (Find a Grave photo by
Gene Hammerstrom)


Cleland 2009 "I told her I was fine . . . I'd be coming home" Cleland 2009 . . . a vow to return
Cleland 2004

Max Cleland (1968, 2000)

"More parks, less war . . . what the world needs."

Born in Atlanta Georgia on 23 August 1942, Joseph Maxell "Max" Cleland lost both legs above the knees and his right forearm in Vietnam in 1968. Three years later he had embarked on a political career that has included the following posts (Wikipedia).

11 Jan 1971 - 13 Jan 1975   Member of the Georgia Senate from the 55th district
20 Jan 1977 - 20 Jan 1981   Administrator of Veterans Affairs
11 Jan 1983 -    Jan 1996   23rd Secretary of State of Georgia
 3 Jan 1997 -  3 Jan 2003   United States Senator from Georgia
From May 2009   Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission

Cleland was a leading member of the Veterans Administration team that developed the Veterans Centers and the programs they administer today. These programs were inspired by the increasing interest in what came to be called "post-tramatic stress disorder" (PTSD) -- which, for war vets, Cleland calls "post-war disorder".

At the beginning of his recent talks, Cleland confesses that he wasn't really wounded in Vietnam. He was duck hunting with Dick Cheney. He stresses the importance of humor in a keynote speech he gave on 5 May 2010 at the Department of Veterans Affairs Readjustment Counseling Service 30th National Training Conference in Reno, Nevada.

At the 2010 conference, he was introduced by Steven Tice (1969), who lost his right arm in Vietnam, and like Cleland passed through the 106th General Hospital in the course of his evacuation to the United States. Tice joked that he and Cleland had a lot in common, as both had played basketball, were badly wounded in Veitnam, had master's degrees in history, were advocates of Veterans centers, and were from the south -- Cleland from Georgia, he, Tice, from South California.

Cleland has written books for therapeutic as much as political reasons. The title of his first and most widely published book comes from a line in Heminway's Farewell To Arms -- "The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places."

Max Cleland
Strong at the Broken Places: A Personal Story
Grand Rapids (Michigan): Chosen Books (Word Books), 1980 (hardcover), 156 pages
New York: Berkley, 1982 (paperback)
Atlanta (Georgia): Cherokee Publishing Company, 1986 (hardcover), 1989 (paperback)
New York: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2000 (hardcover)
Atlanta (Georgia): Longstreet Press, 2000 (hardcover)

His second book publicizes his personal 12-step school of life.

Max Cleland
Going for the Max!: 12 Principles for Living Life to the Fullest
New York: Broadman and Holman, 2000, 144 pages, hardcover

He also wrote contributed to this collection of war stories.

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project, Thomas J. Weiner
Introduction by Max Cleland, Afterword by Chuck Hagel
Voices of War: Stories of Service From the Home Front and the Front Lines
Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2004 (hardcover)
New York: Random House, 2005 (paper back), 336 pages

Years after Karl Rove and other Republican rivals questioned his patriotism, Cleland, a Democrat, wrote his third book to set the record straight.

Max Cleland with Ben Raines
Heart of a Patriot
(How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove)
New York: Simon and Schuster, 2009 (hardcover), 2010 (papercover)
259 pages, hardcover

In this book, Cleland praises those who never saw combat but had to deal with the wounded, including those who had lost their limbs or whose limbs had to be amputated.


In 2000, when a senator from Georgia, during the Clinton years, and as part of his work on the Armed Services Committee, Cleland visited Amerian troops in Korea. On his way to Korea, he made a "side trip" to Japan.

Cleland hadn't been to Japan since leaving the 106th General Hospital in 1968 for recovery and rehabilitation in the United States. And he had vowed, when he left, to someday return, he wrote (page 161).

After some sightseeing, which included the underground headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Navy "dug deep into a mountain range near Yokohama" (see Japan's Underground Naval Dugouts below), he visited "the first place that I began to believe I would survive" -- and to his surprise "discovered that the old hospital had been torn down after the Vietnam War."

I'm a bit surprised Cleland though that a rather shabby bunch of barracks and related buildings, mostly constructed in the mid and late 1950s, would last much longer than the return of the Kishine to Yokohama in 1972. Japanese buildings of similar construction and vintage had life expectancies of no more than 50 years, and many if not most had been demolished before Cleland's 2000 visit.

See also Amputations at the 106th General Hospital (above).

Glasser on Cleland

Cleland is one of the best-known veterans of Vietnam. Many other writers about the war, including veterans who served in Vietnam, have touched upon his experiences in their own writings, as he as sometimes touched upon theirs.

Ronald Glasser his story about Cleland in the following book.

Ronald J. Glasser, M.D.

In a 13 September 2011 HistoryNet interview on "Who really pays the price of war?" with Ronald Glasser, author of 365 Days (1971), the following exchange takes place.

You recount in your new book about seeing Max Cleland in Zama's ICU.

Max Cleland was sort of the poster boy for the evacuation chain, how he survived and got to Zama with both legs and left arm gone. The ICU was nightmare stuff, really. I can remember the surgeons asking themselves, "Should we just let him die?" But if you didn't bleed to death or get killed by infection, you were likely going to survive, like Cleland.

Glasser made the following statement in the book that he had just released at the time of the 2011 interview (Broken Bodies, Shattered Minds, page 37).

And then there was Max Cleland, a young lieutenant in the First Air Cav who was later -- much later -- to become the junior senator from Georgia. He was not only one of those survivors who made it to the med-evac chopper, but in many the poster boy for Vietnam, for the evac chain, for Zama, for both the stupidity and confusion of the war as well as all the courage, suffering, and bravery.

I remember seeing Max in the intensive care unit, his still oozing stumps up on blocks, his left arm completely gone at the shoulder, tubes running into his chest and what remained of his abdomen. His story, like so many stories in 'Nam, was simple enough.

Under "References and Recommended Reading" Glasser includes this group of sources (Glasser 2011, page 252).

Zama / The Wounded
Cleland, Max. Strong at the Broken Places. Longstreet Press, 2000.
Glasser, Ronald J. 365 Days. New York: George Braziller, 1971.

Simple stories? Left arm at the shoulders? Camp Zama?

One problem with Glasser's writing is that it is strong on arousing empathy for soldiers injured or wounded in war, and stirring sympathy for his anti-war stance. But at times he is inexplicably unreliable regarding easily confirmable facts. I'm not sure why.

In more forgiving moods, I want to believe that, over the years, Glasser has simply forgotten or confused some details. But I am more inclined to conclude, from the sort of liberties he took when writing 365 Days (1971), that he has impulsives to composite and embellish, if not simply imagine, things that didn't happen quite the way he claims or describes.

Glasser admits, in 365 Days, that he "changed the names, dates, deployments, and some unit designations" -- but does not explain of some of the people and places. And he tells stories in different ways, as though demonstrating varieties of narrative styles in a creative writing course. He states in the Foreward that "It was a brutal time for them" -- the injured and wounded "boys" he met in the hospital -- and "in fairness" -- presumably to them -- he "changed the names, dates, deployments, and some unit designations" (Glasser 1971, page xi).

Glasser would not be the first writer to resort to some degree of fictionalization of facts in the process of novelizing the expreriences of others as related to him in conversations. Such devices are legitimate when acknowledged. And so long as a writer doesn't abuse the license to relate what he has heard and seen in dramatic ways, then it is not lie to claim that "The stories I have tried to tell here are true" (Ibid., page xi).

Errors in fact and interpretation that result from carelessness, or failure to check facts, are more difficult to account for, since presumably they were not intentional. While such errors are generally not sufficient reason for not reading or valuing a book, Glasser's questionable claims about Cleland -- one the most famous Vietnam veterans, at least one of whose books Glasser appears to have read -- constitute grounds for wondering what was going on in his head -- what he was thinking or dreaming.

Contrary to what Glasser alleges, even rhetorically, Most stories are anything but simple. Cleland's accounts of the grenade incident that resulted in his injuries (which were not wounds inflicted by the enemy) are in fact rather complex.

More importantly, Cleland lost his right arm, not his left -- above the elbow, not at the shoulder.

Most importantly, for the purpose of this website, though, Cleland has consistently related that he was evacuated to the 106th General Hospital, not Camp Zama.

Cleland said so in Heart of a Patriot in 2009 (above).

He also said so in a 2002 interview (next).

And he said so in Strong at the Shattered Places in 1980 (next to next).

"It's absolutely accurate. It's not political. It's just the way it was."

These are Glasser's closing words on Ronald J. Glasser: On Writing 365 Days (see below), a 2-minute video clip created to publicize 365 Days and one of his novels. The video clip opens with a scene showing a medevac helicopter arriving at the 106th General Hospital and the offloading of some patients. The clip also shows a helicopter preparing to take off from the 106th.

However, Glasser's writing is not "absolutely" accurate. The manner in which he raises questions about one or another war -- whether writing in a reportorial or fictional mode -- is often polemic. The effects are both emotional and political. The "way" it was is how he claims it was, though by his own admission, many of his tales are merely his tellings of other people's stories.

2002 Cleland interview

Cleland, in his evacuation stories, consistently refers to the 106th General Hospital and does not mention Camp Zama. Here is an excerpt from a long interview for the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. I have slightly reformatted the cited text. The [bracketed] information is as received.

Cleland 1980 1980 Chosen edition Cleland 1982 1982 Berkley edition
Cleland 1986 1986 Cherokee edition Cleland 2000 2000 Longstreet edition

Experiencing War

Stories from the Veterans History Project

Interview with Max Cleland [11/20/2002]

Edwin M. Perry:   Good morning. Today we're here to interview Senator Max Cleland from Georgia. I'm Mike Perry, and with me is David Taylor. This interview is being conducted as part of the Veterans History Project, an effort by the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress. Sir, we're glad to be here.

Max Cleland:   Glad you're here.

Max Cleland:   Because it was Vietnam, they had chopper medevac. And it was a clear day, in the middle of the day, to the division aid station. And within the hour, I was in the air medevaced about -- what? -- 40 miles away maybe to Dong Ha to a -- to a division -- a forward aid station, field hospital. 38th Medical-Surgical, I think. And a team of five doctors saved my life. The fascinating thing about that is that one of -- I heard from one of those doctors, about four orthopedists and one -- I don't know. A guy measures your blood pressure and whatever. Anesthesiologist. Yes. And he said I owe my life to the anesthesiologist because every time my blood pressure would go down, my breathing would stop, he would stop the operation, build up the blood pressure, and they could start again. Then the anesthesiologist would stop it and build it up again. Dah, dah, dah. So I went through like 46 pints of blood in five hours. And they saved my life. But the surgeon who later wrote me, who was working at the VA Hospital when I was head of the VA, said he never -- never dared to come see me because he couldn't -- he couldn't face me. So then there I am again, alone. To face myself, right.

Edwin M. Perry:   Yeah.

Max Cleland:   So many Vietnam veterans went through this kind of experience.

Edwin M. Perry:   The other -- then you're shipped back. You wind up at Walter Reed.

Max Cleland:   Yeah. And the shipping back was a hellacious thing because I was moved very quickly from the field hospital to -- one night in Da Nang. And I wanted to stay in the Navy hospital because I -- in Da Nang because I knew I was going to get better treatment there. They said, "No. You're an Army guy." So they sent me down to someplace called Tuy Hoa, which was a hellhole northeast of Saigon. And I -- there, I almost -- I was there for seven days. I almost died.

Edwin M. Perry:   I think --

Max Cleland:   Or they almost killed me.

Edwin M. Perry:   In your book, that's very --

Max Cleland:   Unbelievable. I was lucky to survive that place.

Edwin M. Perry:   Okay.

Max Cleland:   And then -- then they -- one night in an Air Force hospital in Cam Ranh Bay, then the C-130 to Japan near Yokohama. The 106 General Hospital, which is no longer there. I went back to that ground about two years ago. And it's now a park. And I had a little sense of serenity there about that place because I had come back to life there. And I'm glad that it's a park. It had a certain serenity to it. Hopefully that's a precursor of history in the 21st century there. And less war and more serenity. And then medevaced after seven days C-141. One stop in Anchorage, Alaska to Walter Reed to begin a whole life here.

Edwin M. Perry:   But you only spent about six months at Walter Reed, and then they discharged you?

Max Cleland:   About eight months, yeah. Eight months at Walter Reed. I was looked upon as a long-term case. I did not know whether I was mental or physical. (laughter) But I was a long-term case, all right.

Much earlier than this, while heading Veterans Administration under President Jimmy Carter, Cleland gave Carter a copy of the manuscript of what would soon be published as Strong at the Broken Places. The manuscript is in the Jimmy Carter Library, which has published it in a PDF file associated with Carter's schedule for Friday, 25 July 1980, and a copy of a handwritten letter from Carter to Cleland, bearing the same date, and acknowleding that he, Carter, had read the entire manuscript. See Jimmy Carter Library for a copy of the file (Folder Citation: Collection: Office of Staff Secretary; Series: Presidential Files; Folder: 7/25/8).

The introduction is followed by a citation from the start of Ronald Glasser's 1971 book 365 Days.

The entirety of "Chapter 5: Polar Route" (manuscript, pages 44-52) is devoted to Cleland's arrival at, and departure from, the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama.

The first graphs of the chapter read as follows (manuscript, pages 44-45). The [bracketed remarks] and highlighting are mine.

Cleland 1980 1989 Cherokee paper cover edition
This copy signed and inscribed by the author
Copped from Rare Book Cellar at

Strong at the Shattered Place

Chapter 5


Some good news at last! I was going to an army hospital in Japan.

Seven days in the Thuy Hoa field hospital had seemed like an eternity. By the time my stretcher was lifted onto the big Air Force C-130, I could hardly remember the name of the nurse I had battled or much about the hospital itself. Everything disappeared in a fog of pain and Demerol.

My spirits lifted a fraction. Now I just might get out of Vietnam alive. If I could niake it out of here, I reasoned, I could make it anywhere.

The C-130 landed near Yokohama, Japan. The rear door went down and I, along with the other stretcher cases, was put on a hospital bus headed for the 106th General Army Hospital just outside the city. As we rolled along, I tried to raise myself up a little to look out the window. I had never seen Japan. But since I could barely move my head, I lay there staring at the tiny holes on the bus' sound absorbent ceiling.

At the big, army hospital, I was quickly moved to surgery. In the operating room, the doctors finally closed my leg stumps and my throat "trache." Since the six-inch gash on my right arm stump had not healed enough to close over the exposed bone, it was left open to drain. I soon discovered that the 106th General Army [sic = 106th General Army Hospital = 106th General Hospital = 106th U.S. Army Hospital, Kishine] was a superior hospital in every way, with nurses and ward attendants who cared for us with true compassion.

Within a few days I awoke sensing a new spirit within me. The blue sky outside the ward-room [sic = ward, ward room] window seemed especially bright, a nurse hurrying by my bed threw me a cheery hello and I found myself responding with a grin and a wave. Somehow I had managed to turn the corner. I knew that I was going to live.


Underground Imperial Japanese Navy headquarters

The following English description accompanies a video clip of a tour through the tunnels of the headquarters on (Kyodo News, 23 June 2015, Clip No. 479516288, HD). The English text appears to be an expediant, unpolished translation of the commentary on the video clip, which is in Japanese. I have broken the received text into graphs as would have been done in a newspaper and otherwise slightly reformated the text. The numbers refer to the time on the clock of the 3:19 minute high definition clip.

Hiyoshi Dugouts 2006 Hiyoshi Imperial Navy Underground Shelter
Society promoting the preservation of the [Imperial Navy] Combined Fleet Hiyoshidai Dugout" (editor), Heiwa Bunka (publisher), 2006, 62 pages, pamphlet

Japan's Underground Naval Dugouts

A Silent History Teller

Kyodo News, 23 June 2015

KANAGAWA, JAPAN -- JUN. 23: Thick concrete walls, coded wire communications room, and air raid evacuation room among other facilities at a huge complex of underground dugouts are eloquently telling the history of the war -- but silently.

The Imperial Japanese Navy's secret commanding headquarters at the final days of the Second World War -- with its deepest point at 30 meters underground -- is located beneath Hiyoshi Campus of prestigious Keio University in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. The Imperial Navy in 1944 hired the ground, along with the university's boarding houses, and build the facility to prepare for what it thought to be imminent -- the battle on mainland Japan as American troops quickly approached Japan thoughout the Pacific fronts.

The Navy ordered from here the world's largest battleship Yamato to join war off Okinawa but was powerlessly sanken en route by U.S. warplanes which then already dominated Pacific airspaces.

Japan surrendered and the war ended in summer 1945.

01:50-02:16 "Ahead from here used to be the aerial control room under Tokyo telecommunications division of the former navy's intelligence department. In there also used to be several rooms but lots of water has been oozed out of the ground and now water level is as high as my knee."

02:53-03:06 "Water drainage system is built in inside the wall. Pipes are placed all along behind the walls."

The Yokohama campus of Keio University (Keiō Gijuku Daigaku 慶應義塾大学) is by Hiyoshi station (Hiyoshi-eki (日吉駅) in Kohoku-ku in Yokohama city in Kanagawa prefecture (神奈川県横浜市港北区). With permission from the university, Hiyoshidai Chika-gō Hozon no Kai (日吉台地下壕保存の会定例見学会) [Society to preserve the underground trenches (dugouts, shelters) at Hiyoshidai], schedules two tours a month. Everything is in Japanese, and the university does not otherwise open the facilities for public access.

Hiyoshi is a few kilometers north and a bit east of Kishine, which is also in Kohoku ward.

Cleland on Pacific War

In his story about his side trip to Japan, Cleland wrote -- "If we had invaded the islands of Japan like we stormed the beaches of France on D-Day, the carnage among Japanese and American soldies would have reached into the hundreds of thousands" (page 106). His own father, who had been in the military at the time, might have been among the dead, he said.

And a carnage it would truly have been -- in which hundreds of thousands of civilians would also have been slaughtered, literally, if an Allied invasion had been mounted, as planned, from the south and east by mainly U.S. forces, and from the north by Soviet forces.

The actual history, which Cleland leaves unspoken, was that Japan surrendered a few days after the United States dropped atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, thus averting the land invasions that were already being mobilized from Okinawa and other captured islands, and from the continent in Northeast Asia.

The two atomic bombs together killed about 200,000 people. About twice as many people had been killed, and several times more were injured, in American air raids on Japan from November 1944 through July 1945. Some attacks in the spring of 1945, involving hundreds of bombers and fighter escorts, claimed hundreds, thousands, and at times tens of thousands of lives in a single carpeting of a city with thousands of incendiary bombs.

While history is not about what might have happened, explaining what happened has to take into account what could have happened if what happened hadn't happened -- and that is what Cleland is doing. I'd have to ask him whether he would defend America's use of atomic bombs to force Japan to its knees. The question begs raising a number of other alternatives to how the war might have been ended before it got to such a desperate stage.

What was at stake?

In my view, a lot more was at stake than the question of invading Japan.

By the "laws" of civilization, including the "right" of colonial powers to defend their colonial interests (I am being a bit sarcastic here), the Allied Powers were justified in forcing Japan to retreat from the countries it had invaded after it attacked Pearl Harbor and declared war against the United States and Great Britain. However, once the Allied Powers had essentially destroyed Japan's navy and air force, and essentially controlled the seas and skies around Japan, was there a strategic need to invade and occupy Japan, or was the demand for unconditional surrender political?

Politically, the Allies had determined, in the 1943 Cairo Declaration, to liberate Japan of all parts of its sovereign territories they regarded as not being part of the Japan's eminent domain -- namely, Taiwan (Formosa), Karafuto (Southern Sakhalin) and the Northern Chishimas (Northern Kuriles), and Chosen (Korea). The Allies had also vowed to force Japan out of China and Manchuria, where Japan had set up what the Allies regarded as "puppet states" but Japan viewed them as "independent states" albeit mostly under its political influence if not control.

This meant that -- while the Allied Powers had gained control of the Pacific, and to some extent the skies over continental Asia as well as over Japan and the Pacific -- Japan continued to control China and Manchuria, from which it could supply itself with enough food and raw materials to survive an Allied blockade. And any attempt to conquer Japanese forces in China or Manchuria would also have been costly in terms of civilian as well as military lives.

In addition such geographical realities, the United States, while allied with the Soviet Union, was wary about extending the war beyond the date that the Soviet Union would be joining the Allies. At the time of the 1943 Cairo Declaration, the Soviet Union was honoring the terms of the Neutrality (Non-Aggression) Treaty (Pact) it had signed with Japan on 13 Apri1940 Japan. The agreement alowed the USSR to deploy all its military forces against Germany on the western front without having to worry about fighting Japan on the eastern front.

To be continued.


David Dulin Dentinger (1969)

"Whatever you have left, it's much more than some have."

David Dulin told the following story on the website of the 12th Cavalry Regiment Association no earlier than July 2006 (retrieved 2014).

Wounded in Action

by David Dulin Dentinger
Company A, 2/12 Cavalry

February 21, 1968 - WIA

This story begins the moment I picked up an armed white phosphorous grenade. Why I did that is another story entirely. I didn't remember the cook-off time for a Willy Pete. I know I learned it in AIT (Advanced Infantry Training), but that seemed like forever ago. Well, at that time it was a moot point, because as I released the grenade, it detonated. It still amazes me after all this time how one can go from perfectly whole and healthy, to having life threatening injuries or even death in a fraction of a second. Unlike most other ways of being burned, white phosphorous knows only one degree, and that's third degree.

I didn't recognize the sound coming from my own mouth; it was a low guttural sound like I had never heard before. I couldn't produce that sound today, no matter how hard I tried. The partial plate holding my three front teeth went flying from my mouth. I had lost those teeth in a swimming accident when I was 15; now, I had lost them again.

After the initial shock that lasted one or two minutes, I was able to assess the situation. My left hand, left arm, and left leg from my belt to the top of my boot took most of the blast. Thanks to a flak vest and my steel pot, for the most part my back and head were spared from the burns, although some of the burns on my hip were caused by the melting nylon fiber flak vest. My body's natural endorphins protected me against what should have been unbearable pain. I remember staring at my hand, or what was left of it, with amazement. It was like looking at someone else's body. There were splatter burns on other parts of my body including my face, scalp, and right leg that would have been terrible under any other circumstance, but, in this case, they were minor.

A dose of morphine not only eased the pain but gave me a peaceful, euphoric feeling. As the medics Doc Wright and Doc Jones were treating me, I thought to myself: "If these guys can keep me alive and get me out of here, I don't think I'll be back. I'm going BACK TO THE WORLD!"

I had often felt that I would leave Vietnam either wounded or dead. Given those choices, obviously I would have taken being wounded, even as serious as it was.

It seemed like in no time, I heard a dust-off chopper coming. My good friend and medic Doc Wright threw me over his shoulder as if I weighed nothing. As he carried me a great distance to the chopper, he tried to assure me that I would be OK. However, I detected obvious doubt in his voice.

February 21st - The Ride Out
Out of concern that my smoldering body might ignite the canvas seats on the chopper, I was asked to stay on the floor. So, there I sat in nothing but my dog tags, holding on to one of the standards that supported the seats. The chopper lifted off with four wounded troopers. One of the wounded soldiers was lying across the floor of the chopper with an obvious chest wound, motionless, with his mouth wide open. I thought he was dead. Later I learned that the trooper was Michael Hunter. He had a sucking chest wound and was taking very shallow breaths.

Apparently the helicopter had some mechanical problems because it wasn't flying in a normal manner. Based on my limited knowledge, I believed that the tail rotor was damaged. The pilot had to struggle to keep the chopper flying straight, and when we arrived at the MASH. unit, the helicopter dropped like a rock onto the landing pad. Hunter's wounded body fell out onto the pad. Thank goodness he survived the fall.

February 21st - MASH Unit
I was taken off the chopper, placed on a stretcher, and rushed into the MASH unit. As the doctors and nurses treated me and asked questions about my injuries, I drifted off. That's all I remember about my emergency treatment.

February 21st - the Hospital Ship - USS Repose
I was in and out of consciousness as I was moved about; finally ending-up on what was apparently a ship. There were pipes overhead that were wrapped and painted white. Later I was told that it was the hospital ship, USS Repose.

When I woke up some time later, my vision was very poor. The phosphorus smoke had burned my corneas; it was like looking through frosted glass. "O, great, now I'm going blind", I thought, but with compresses on my eyes and drops in them, my vision slowly returned to normal.

February 22 - On the Way to Japan
Early the next morning I was taken on deck, loaded onto a Chinook, and flown to an air base, probably Cam Ranh Bay. There, I was put on a very large cargo aircraft (a C141 I believe) and flown to Yokohama Japan.

February 23 - 106th General Hospital
When the large cargo doors of the airplane opened, a rush of cold air filled the cabin. What a change from the warm, humid tropical air that I had experienced the past several months. "I guess I'm not in Vietnam any more", was my thought. I was loaded onto a bus configured to carry litters and then transported to the 106th General Hospital.

Based on my experience of being slightly wounded on January 7th, I knew the Army was going to let my family know about my injuries in a timely fashion.

Knowing that the telegram would be inaccurate (and it was) I wanted to talk to them first. I asked to be taken to a phone and was told that a phone would be brought to my bedside in the morning. That was not acceptable! Another patient told me there was a phone down the hall, so I eased out of bed on my stomach and hobbled down the hall to the phone. It was only about 25 feet, but they were the toughest 25 feet I had ever traveled. I couldn't believe how tough it was to move that short distance. Of course I told my mother on the phone that my injuries weren't that bad. "After all", I said, "I walked all the way down the hall to the phone".

I was taken to the OR to remove some burned flesh, and, possibly, to remove my left hand. My watch band had been fused to my wrist and had slowed the circulation in that hand. It really didn't matter at that time what they did to me; my life was completely in their hands. After all, at that point, what could I do? The doctors were able to save my hand, a decision that I was sorry about over the next eighteen months. The burn treatment and reconstruction was no picnic and it involved a great deal of pain. In hindsight, however, I've gotten a lot of use out of that beat-up hand over the years.

When I returned from surgery I was in a great deal of pain. An aide came around with a cart and in it was BEER ON ICE. I asked, "How many can I have?" Two a day was the answer, so I took two. It was the coldest beer I had ever tasted. To this day, without a doubt, those were the best beers I have ever had. I don't drink much beer now. I know that those two ICE COLD beers can never be duplicated, so I don't even try.

February 24 - Preparation for the Flight Home
That morning I was told I was to be bathed and prepared for transport back to the World. I dreaded being bathed; I didn't want to be touched; I just wanted to be left alone. There wasn't a nerve in my body that was not on edge. Even the slight breeze from someone walking by my bed was painful. Only another person who has been burned can understand this. A Japanese woman bathed and wrapped my burned flesh in the most gentle and caring way. No one could have done a better job. She probably had no idea how much she was appreciated.

I was bundled up like a mummy to be taken back to the airfield for the long flight to Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas, and then I was going by ground transportation to the Burn Center at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) at Fort Sam Houston.

February 25 - The World
When I was taken off the plane in Texas, I looked around. The surroundings were all familiar. Even though I didn't know exactly where I was, I knew I was Home ? the United States of America, the World. Thank God I made it.

BAMC - Crispy Critter
What I didn't know at the time was that burns attack the whole body. Every organ is affected by what happens to your largest organ, your skin. As a result, I got sicker by the hour. I was sent to the ICU and put on massive amounts of antibiotics. I was also put on a machine to assist my breathing and to decongest my burned lungs.

Two weeks later I was back on the burn ward with the rest of the "Crispy Critters", as we called ourselves. I used to say, "I like my friends well done." I know now it may be hard to believe, but, at that point, I felt fortunate because so many of the patients on the burn ward were much worse than I was. Some were horribly disfigured, with ears, lips and noses burned off. Some were burned over such a large portion of their bodies that there were not many places left that could be used as donor sites for skin.

[ See 12th Cav Reg Assc for the rest of Dentinger's much longer story. ]

I cannot and would not close this story without praising the Army for my care. From the way the medics were trained, the helicopter evacuation, the MASH unit and hospitals, every aspect of my care was excellent. Even today, years later, the Army and Veterans Administration will address any problem as a result of my injury.

There wasn't much the doctors could do to address the trauma to my mind; like most of us survivors ? I had to do that myself. I still find it hard to understand the poor, poor, pitiful me attitude of so many vets that I've talked with through the years. If you've survived the war and the trauma associated with the war; then count your blessings. Whatever you have left, it's much more than some have.

I've lived thirty-eight years since that day in February, 1968, and I'm grateful for every day of that time. The sadness comes when I think of those wonderful young men who didn't survive; who didn't have the opportunity to enjoy what I have; or the ones who can't or won't appreciate this remarkable country and the opportunities made possible by the sacrifice of others.

That's the way I feel about it; after all, it's my story.


Larry Haney tombstone Wrench Cemetery, Hayne, North Carolina
(Find a Grave photo by Lee Coleman)
Kishine heart attack Pacific Stars and Stripes
13 July 1957, page 5

Less than one month after Kishine Barracks opened, a soldier was found dead, apparently of a heart attack. He had been with the U.S. Army Transportation Terminal Command, which appears to have been the primary reason to build the barracks in the mid 1950s, just as the 106th General Hospital later become the principle justification for its continued existence in the mid 1960s.

Larry Haney (1968)

"106 General Hospital" epitaph

Larry Wayne Haney is buried in Wrench Cemetery in Hayne, Sampson county, North Carolina. His gravestone states that he was born on 14 May 1948 and died on 16 September 1968, and describes him as "PFC 106 GENERAL HOSPITAL".

Data posted on the Find a Grave website states he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. David Neil Haney and adds that "He was a Staff Member at the 106th General Hospital, Kishini [sic] Barracks, Yokohama, Japan."

Larry's father David is buried in the same cemetery. His tombstone states that he born 21 November 1920 and died 24 November 1949. David died only 3 days after turning 29 years old and only 18 months after Larry's birth. Larry, who never knew his father, was a few months short of his 21st birthday, thus not yet old enough to vote when he died.

The U.S. Army Personnel and Dependent Casualties, 1961-1981 lists Larry W. Haney as a Caucasian male, Casualty Country: Japan, Casualty Category: Non-battle Dead, Casualty Status: Non-hostile Dead: Died Of Wounds/injury (previous), Casualty Date: 16 Sep 1968, Report Date: 16 Sep 1968, Personnel Category: Active Duty Army, Military Class: Enlisted Personnel, Rank: Private First Class.

Probate records related to Larry's father's estate show that his mother, Doris Hall Haney, filed papers as the administratrix of the estate, showing $227.62 in receipts for the sale of a horse, house building materials, and a truck, against $796.83 in county and legal fees and material costs related to her husband's burial. Assets included a saw mill, truck, short dog, log skidder, building materials, and horse with a total value of $1,500.00, and two tracts of land valued at $500.00 and $200.00.

I imagine Larry Haney's mother received news of his death and buried him. Many people at Kishine at the time must have known about his death and talked about it. Perhaps some of them now and then recall his name and the circumstances.


William Turner Overcash (1968)

Non-hostile burn casualty

Confused Internet reports on place of death

William Turner Overcash is buried in Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery, Troutman, Iredell County, North Carolina. His gravestone states that he was born on 11 January 1948 and died on 23 December 1968. His 2st headstone states that he was a Spec 4 in the U.S. Army and had received the Bronze Star Medal (BSM) and the Army Commodation Medal (ARCOM). A newer, erect headstone, describes him only as the son of his parents and states that "The angels called him".

Find a Grave postings

Overcash represents a case of injuries sustained as a result of secondary rather than primary effects of an enemy attack. Had he been injuried by the explosion of the rocket that struck his stove, presumably he would have been regarded a battle casualty and his death would have been attributed to the effects of wounds sustained in action. His death, though, was classified as due to a "non-hostile" injury -- as though he was a victim of "collateral damage".

According to his Find a Grave memorial, Overcash died in Yokosuka, which implies that he had been sent to the U.S. Navy hospital there as though he had been a Marine.

The following remarks, including an obituary, were posted on the memorial as of June 2018 (the horizontal lines between remarks are mine).

Overcash State Record & Landmark
Statesville, North Carolina
Monday, 18 November 1968, page 4
Clipped from
William Overcash tombstone 1 Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery
Troutman, Iredell County, North Carolina
(Find a Grave photo by Kathi Shuler)
William Overcash tombstone 1 Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery
Troutman, Iredell County, North Carolina
(Find a Grave photo by Kathi Shuler)

Sp4 William Turner Overcash, Vietnam Veteran, Native of Troutman, NC.

Specialist Four William Turner Overcash, casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army Selective Service and a Draftee, SP4 Overcash served our country until December 23rd, 1968 in a Military Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan. He was 20 years old and was not married. It was reported that William died from burns suffered from a rocket attack. His body was recovered. William was born on January 11th, 1948 in Troutman, North Carolina. SP4 Overcash is on panel 36W, line 070 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. He served our country for less than a year.

I did not know Bill Overcash well. He and I were both in the 101st Airborne, 426 S&S Battalion. I was about 100 feet away when he was hit by the fire that resulted from a rocket that hit our mess tent. That was on 13 Dec 68. I saw the whole thing. I was told he passed away on 25 Dec 68 in Japan. Every 13 Dec, I think of him. Neil McCullough,

Didn't know Bill but his name was on the list of names I was honored to have read at "The Wall" this past Veterans Day in D.C. I made a promise that dark night in front of that Wall of Honor to find out who these Heros were that paid the ultimate sacrifice. Being a Viet Vet myself I believe they are in a better place for they surley have spent their time in hell. May they rest in Peace. Steve Schultz, Semper FI!

OBITUARY: Specialist Four William Turner Overcash, 20, of route 1, Troutman, died in a government hospital In Japan on December 23 from burns sustained some 10 days earlier in Vietnam. Overcash was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Overcash. Route l, Troutman. A head cook, Overcash was attached to the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam and sustained burns when a gas stove exploded after an enemy rocket struck it, according to a message received by his parent from Army officials. He suffered second and third degree burns over 75 per cent of his body, the Army reported. A native of Iredell County, Specialist Overcash was born on January 11, 1948, a son of Mr and Mrs Paul and Alma Overcash. He entered Troutman High School before entering the Army on January 16. 1968. He took his basic training at Ft. Bragg and was stationed at Ft.Dix, N.J, before being assigned to Vietnam on June 8, 1968. Surviving, in addition to his parents are a son, Michael Gene Overcash of Route 1, Troutman. Three brothers, Robert, Donnie and Faylor Overcash, all of route 1, Troutman; the maternal grandfather, Turner Overcash of Flint, Mich, and the paternal grandmother, Mrs Will Overcash of Mooresville.

Sp4 William T Overcash was the son of Mr and Mrs Paul J Overcash, Route 1, Box 400, Troutman, NC, 28166.

He served with Headquarters and Services Company, 426th Supply and Services Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, USARV.

He was awarded The Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service, The Army Commendation Medal, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal.

Virtual Wall record

Virtual Wall shows the following information about Overcash.

The Virtual Wall & Vietnam Veterans Memorial
William Turner Overcash
Specialist Four
Army of the United States
Troutman, North Carolina
January 11, 1948 to December 23, 1968
(Incident Date December 13, 1968)
WILLIAM T OVERCASH is on the Wall at Panel W36, Line 70
MOS Food Service Specialist
Casualty Type: Non-hostile, died of illness or injury
Casualty Reason: Ground casualty
Casualty Detail: Burns

Wall of Faces record

The Wall of Faces website hosted by Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) shows the following information about Overcash.

is honored on Panel 36W, Line 70 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
    Ground Casualty
    Posted on 8/4/17 - by
    SP4 William T. Overcash was a food service specialist serving with Headquarters & Services Company, 426th Supply & Services Battalion, 101st Airborne Division. On December 13, 1968, SP4 Overcash was critically burned by a fire that resulted when a gas stove exploded after an enemy rocket struck the mess tent he managed in Thua Thien Province, RVN. Overcash was medically evacuated with second and third degree burns over 75% of his body to the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama, Japan, where he succumbed to his injuries December 23, 1968. [Taken from and]

Coffelt Database record

Coffelt Database of Vietnam Casualties shows the following record (viewed June 2018, my formating and highlighting).

Name:OVERCASH, William Turner
Home of Record:Troutman, North Carolina
Birth Date:01/11/1948
Death (Actual/PFoD):12/23/1968
Age at Death:20
Service & Component:Army (Selective Service)
Service Number:53528448
MOS:94B20 = Food Service Specialist
Rank:SP4 = Specialist Four. Pay grade at loss E4.
Unit of Assignment:H&S CO, 426TH S&S BN, 101ST ABN DIV, USARV
Start Tour:06/07/1968
Incident Date:12/13/1968
Death (Actual/PFoD):12/23/1968
Length of Service:00 years (rounded down; 00 is less than 1 year, etc.)
Casualty Data:Casualty codes:
  C2 = Non-hostile, died of illness or injury
  K = Burns
  7 = Ground casualty
Casualty Location:Province code 02. Country code VS.
Thua Thien Province South Vietnam
Vehicle:Not applicable.
Major Group:
Sources:DA2496 (LBJ 114) gas stove exploded - GraveApp (Box 311) no unit. Died 106th GenHosp, Yokohama, Japan per CIL 42339. Injured 13Dec per obituary.
Document(s) posted: 2
(Will open in a pop-up window)
  View document DA2496 from LBJ Box 114
  View document GRVAPP from GA Box 311
Known awards:
Record last updated:04/08/2016
On the Wall at:Panel 36W Line 070

Central Identification Laboratory

The "CIL" document in Coffelt Database's record for William Overcash, apparently the authority for the location of Overcash's death at the 106th, refers to the "Central Identification Laboratory" in Hawaii. The laboratory, though established after the United States agreed to pull out of Vietnam, was established from the U.S. Army military mortuaries that operated in Southeast Asia during the war. Presumably CIL also became the repository for morturary records that originated outside Southeast Asia, such as in Japan, where the bodies of wounded soldiers who died while undergoing treatment in Japan were routed through Camp Zama to Hawaii before they were returned to families.

Accounting for their personnel at any given time is a constant preoccupation of all military organizations. During wars in which combat personnel and others are killed or go missing in action, or under other circumstances, records are kept to account for recovered and unrecovered bodies. Recovered bodies need to be identified, missing persons need to be found, and recovered and identified remains need to be returned to the families of the deceased.

The Army Quartermaster Foundation website descibes CIL was follows (reviewed June 2018).

U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii

Throughout the Vietnam Conflict, two Army mortuaries operated within the country of Vietnam. One was located on the eastern coast in the city of Danang, and the second on Tan Soo Nhut Air Force Base just outside or Saigon. When the conflict ended, these mortuaries closed and their personnel and equipment were consolidated and relocated to Thailand.

On 23 January 1973, a U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory was established at Camp Samae San, Thailand (CILTRAI). The CILTRAI mission was to search for, recover and identify those servicemen lost as a result of the Vietnam Conflict. CILTHAI was inactivated and moved from Thailand to Hawaii in 1976. This move resulted from troop reduction negotiations between the U.S. and Thai governments. With the move, the laboratory was redesignated the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (USACILHI).

PERMANENT ORDERS 90-60 12 August 1985 established the USACILHI as an operational element of the U.S. Army Military Personnel Center. USACILHI's mission is to search for, recover and identify the remains of missing servicemen lost as a result of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and other conflicts and contingencies. CILHI is located on Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii.

[ Rest omitted ]


Edward Henjyoji (1968-1969)

The saga of an American family

Edward Yoshimasa Henjyoji (b1940) served as a doctor in the Burn Unit of the 106th General Hospital from 1968 to 1969. His family history, such as I have been able to reconstruct it, is at once unusual and ordinary -- unusual in the manner in which the family name came to change, and ordinary in the manner in which the family faced discrimination in federal laws, executive orders, and court decisions that have since been repealed, condemned, and vacated.

In the following sections, I present at length the information I was able to gather about the Henjyoji family. I have tried to minimize repetition, but many of the threads tangle with others, so a few facts appear more than once. My purpose is only to illustrate the complexities of life for a somewhat atypical Japanese American family during a very difficult period of history.

"What kind of name is this?"

When searching for medical articles by 106th General Hospital personnel, I encountered the names "Edward Y. Henjyoji" and "E. Y. Henjyoji" among the co-authors of "Clinical and pathological correlations in 101 fatal burns" (1970) and "Bacteremia Due to Serratia Marcescens" (1971).

The latter article in particular interested me because in 1966, when I was working in the bacteriology section of the pathology lab, we isolated a bacteria which we were unable to identify, and were informed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia that it was Serratia marcescens (see the fuller story of this new (for us) discovery in the Bacteriology section below). I noted that Dr. Henjyoji was a physician in the burn unit, while the other co-authors included the officers who had replaced the officers who had headed the pathology lab and the bacteriology section when I was there.

The name "Henjyoji" intrigued me, though. I literally thought, in Japanese, "Hen-na namae da naa" (What a strange [odd, unusual] name." Linguistically, it struck me as being Japanese. The problem was that, as a Japanese name, it would usually be found as the name of a temple, not of a person. It was possible, though, that the progenitor of the Henjyoji family had been a priest or monk at a temple by that name.

The "jyo" in the name "Henjyoji" is an older alphabetic representation of "jō". Both are simplifed to just "jo" in popular writing. The "y" represents a "y-glide" of the kind that typically follows the "j" in English words like "joe". When found in certain names of Americans of Japanese ancestry, it most likely dates the ancestral migration to before the Pacific War. The "Inoyue" of the late former U.S. senator from Hawaii Daniel Inoyue (1924-2012) would most likely have been "Inoue" had his father migrated to Honolulu after the war. The word "yen" is similarly a linguistic fossilization of the older Japanese orthograpy for "en" (as the word is usually pronounced in Japanese).

After my father died in 2013 at the age of 102, I resumed the work I had begun many years ago on our family history but had put aside to deal with more important matters in life. Now, however, there are on-line resources, and after trying a few, I settled on, a Latter-day Saints genealogy gateway to numerous primary documents, as the best one-stop service. I also found the service useful to explore the family histories of a number of people whose names popped up in my research on migration between the United States and Japan. And so I have kept my monthly subscription active.

When searching for "Edward Y. Henjyoji" I found that his middle name was "Yoshimasa". This satisfied another hypothesis I had formed about his name -- namely, Japanese American names commonly feature a Japanese-style middle name, and names beginning with "Y" are relatively common in Japanese.

More searching confirmed that Henjyoji's parents were immigrants from Japan and that his father had started what is most commonly called the "Henjyoji Temple" in Portland Oregon. His father was deceased but his mother was still alive. Edward was the oldest of four children, followed by his sister Florence, two brothers, Grant and Howard (born in Minidoko Relocation Center), and younger brother Richard (b1947) and sister Lucy (b1948c). Grant had been killed in Vietnam in 1969. Howard, who had also become a physician (University of Oregon Medical School, 1971, Internship, Long Beach Memorial Hospital), had passed away in 1982.

Finding Edward's website publicizing his practice as a plastic surgeon was a proverbial piece of cake. It took a bit more work, but not much more, to find records which showed that the family name had been "Kimura" when Edward's parents started the temple in Portland. A little more searching and it turned out -- as one would expect when doing family history on Japanese or Japanese American families living in westcoast states when the Pacific War began -- that the Kimuras and Edward and Florance were sent to Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho, and that both Grant and Howard were born in the camp -- but that none of the children were listed under their "Christian" names on camp records.

Finally, I was able to date the change from "Kikura" to "Henjyoji" to the mid 1950s. The children's "Christian" first names also seem to date from this time.

Henjyoji's parents

Edward Y. Henjyoji was born Yoshimasa Kimura on 15 December 1940 in Portland, Oregon, the son of Gikan Yoshihiro Kimura, later Daiyu Yoshihiro Henjyoji (1908-2006), and Kazuko Kimura, later Kazuko Wako Henjyoji (b1920). Both of his parents were non-citizen immigrants from Japan at the time of his birth. He, of course, having been born in the United States, was a natural citizen.

Henjyoji's father was born on 25 February 1908 in Arisa (有佐) in Kumamoto (熊本) prefecture in Japan and died on 4 July 2006 in Oregon. Henjyoji's mother, Kazuko Wako Henjyoji, was born on 26 August 1920, and she is still connected with the operation of what is now called the Buddhist Henjyoji Temple or Buddhist Daihonzan Henjyoji Temple in Portland.

Yoshihiro seems to have left and returned to the United States a number of times after his immigration. Four re-entry permits issued at Blaine, Washington, are dated 19 August 1940, 13 November 1940, 20 January 1941, and 19 July 1941. The permits show Yoshihiro's "Occupation" as "priest" or "minister", his "Race" as "Japanese" or "Jap", and his "Nationality" as "Japan" or "Jap". The permits also state that he originally entered the United States on 30 May 1936 aboard the Asama Maru at the port of San Pedro (S.P.) in California.

Asama Maru "M/S Asama Maru not long after delivery" (1929)
The ship that brought Yoshihiro Kimura to California
became an exchange and troop ship during Pacific War.
Image and parts of text from Derby Sulzers

Asama Maru (1929-1944)

The Asama Maru was one of three sister ships "built for the NYK Line (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) for service between the Far East [and] the United States. Their interior design had a very period British style, Japanese influences were held to a minimum. Principal ports visited included Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kobe, Yokohama, Honolulu, Los Angeles [and] San Francisco. The Yokohama - San Francisco crossing would take about fifteen days, by the end of the 1930's such a trip would cost US$190 for 2nd Class or US$315 for 1st Class."

The Asama Maru, the 1st passenger liner in Japan to be propelled by diesel engines, embarked from Kobe on its maiden voyage for San Francisco, via Yokohama and Honolulu, on 7 October 1929. Its many voyages included on that embarked from Hong Kong for San Francisco on 6 May 1936. The ship is also said to have made occasional port calls at Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kobe, and Los Angeles -- i.e., San Pedro. So a 30 May 1936 arrival at San Pedro, with Yoshihiro Kimura aboard, is perfectly feasible.

In July 1942, the Asama Maru was involved in exchanges of civilians between Japan and Allied countries at the Portuguese East African port of Lourenco Marques. During the rest of the war, usually as part of an escorted convey, it transported Allied POWs and Japanese military personnel. Before dawn on the morning of 1 November 1944, it targeted by the USS Atule (SS-403), took a total of 4 torpedoes, and disappeared vertically. 474 members of its 1,874 crew, gunners, and military personnel were lost. Some survivors, including its captain were landed on Takao in Taiwan (Formosa), which was part of Japan.

Yoshihiro was born on 25 February 1908. If the San Pedro entry date is that of his immigration, then he would 28 at the time. Kazuko was born on 26 August 1920, and their first child, Yoshimasa (Edward), was born on 15 December 1940. So she was still 19 years old on 19 August 1940 when he is shown to have re-entered the United States. And she would have been about 5 months pregnant. When and where she and Yoshihiro married is unclear. She would have been 15, going on 16, when he emigrated to the United State's from Japan.

At the time when came to the United States the quota for immigration visas from Japan (which included Chosen), China, and other such Asian countries was zero, non-quota immigration visas were issued to Japanese and other "Orientals" who qualified as clergy. Some Japanese (including Chosenese) Christian ministers and their families were issued non-quota immigrant visas in the 1930s. Whether the religious qualification extended to Buddhist clergy is not clear.

Henjyoji's father's father and mother were Kando Kimura and Hideko Tanaka according to Social Security records. This suggested that Henjyoji's original family name was Kimura, and it became Henjyoji when his father adopted the name Daiyu Yoshihiro Henjyoji, a Buddhist monk, probably at the time he naturalized, presumably in the 1950s. "Daiyu" (大融) means "great fusion", and I would guess that Yoshihiro adopted (or acquired) this name as a reglious "first name" while keeping Yoshihiro as a middle name.

The names of Japanese nationals legally have only two components -- a family name followed by a personal name. When becoming Japanese, I gave up my middle name "Owen" to become simply "Wetherall William" on my Japanese family register and passport. I could have called myself "Williamowen" but that would have been awkward. Most people in Japan do not change their birth names, but religious clergy, like some entertainers, writers, and artists, may adopt one, sometimes more, other names in the course of their lives. The "Yosha" (sheepshed) on the name of my primary website is a translation of "Wetherall" (sheepshed) and an occasional pen name.

Henjyoji's mother's Buddhist name is Hoin Wakou Henjyoji. She is also known as Reverend Wako Henjyoji.

"Wakou" would be written "Wakō" in the Hepburn system of representing Japanese sounds in alphabetic script. Both are simplified to just "Wako" in popular representation. "Wakō" may have been Kazuko's maiden name.

Kohyasan Henjyoji Temple

Henjyoji's father was "Kimura, Gaeyu Y" -- the "pastor" of "Khoyasan Henjyoji Temple" -- according to the 1950 Portland, Oregon phone directory. The directory parenthetically notes "Kazuko" as Kimura's wife. American phone books at the time commonly showed "housewives" this way.

1950 directory "Gaeyu" appears to be Yoshihiro Kimura's adopted Buddhist name between Gikan and Daiyu
"Khoyasan" precedes the names of many Shingon (including Henjoji) temples in Japan.

"Khoyasan" is an older popular variety of "Kohyasan", itself a popular representation of "Kōyasan" (高野山), the mountain in Wakayama prefecture where the priest Kūkai (空海 774-835), known posthumously as Kōbō Daishi (弘法大師), established a monestary and founded the Shingon (真言) or "true word" school of esoteric Buddhism after returning from studies in China in the early 9th century. Kōyasan is now the home of numerous monestaries along trails and roads well-travelled by pilgrims and tourists.

"Henjyoji" denotes the name of a "temple" (ji, tera 寺) of "universal illumination" (henjō 遍照) or "light that illuminates all that it reaches". The name has been adopted by several Buddhist sects. The temple in Edward Henjyoji's family represents the Shingon sect (Shingon shū 真言宗).

The Henjyoji Temple in Portland has also been called the "Daihonzan Henjyoji Temple". The "Daihonzan" (大本山) appellation signifies that the temple derives directly from the "great original mountain" -- namely, Kōyasan". The appellation suggests that the temple has been designated a higher, more exalted or authoritative status in the heirarcy of Shingoin temples.

Cultural activities

Edward Henjyoji's father established the Henjyoji temple in 1940, the year Edward was born. From its start, however, the temple has been more than merely a place for religious activities.

Henjyoji's father also established a chapter of the Saga Goryu (Saga Goryū 嵯峨御流), one of the oldest schools of ikebana (生け花), the art of flower arranging. The flower arrangement activites are not unrelated to the religious activities. The Saga Goryū school is headquartered at the Daikakuji (大覚寺), originally a residence of the Emperor Saga (786-842, reigned 809-823), a Shingon temple in Kyoto. Henjyoji's wife Wako, who joined him teaching ikebana around 1950, continued teaching after his death in 2006. Today the temple is the venue of many ikebana exhibitions and other such cultural events.

Henjyoji's sister Florance was influenced by her parents' flower arrangement activities. The 1966 issue of Viking, the yearbook of Oregon State University, states that "The ancient and modern faces of Japan was the theme of the 1966 Festival of the Arts in May" and says that "Forms of expression basic to the Japanese heritage were exhibited in flower arranging by Florance Henjyoji, . . ." (

Buddhist Henjyoji Temple's website (PDX is localese for "Portland") publicizes the Japanese Cultural Academy, which the temple operates on its premises. The academy offers courses and other experiences related to the Saga Goryu school of Ikebana (生花 "flower arrangement"), Chadō (茶道 "The Way of Tea"), Shodō (書道 "The Way of Calligraphy"), and Goeika Wasan (御詠歌 和讃 "Poetry Song", and Budō (武道 "martial way"), and Sumi-e (墨絵風 "Ink Painting Style"). All such activities are promoted as ways to culturally and physically express the spiritual and ethical values and principles of Shingon Buddhism.

In this sense, Buddhist Henjyoji Temple is very much an American enterprise as it seeks to support itself through a wide range of "community" and "educational" activities that appeal to the "new wave" curiosity that many people in America have toward "things Japanese" and "things Oriental".

Buddhist Henjyoji Temple has also established a "Buddhist Henjyoji Temple Art Award" for students interested in "Tradition Japanese Arts" (or "Japanese Traditional Arts"), who reside in Clackamas, Multnomah, or Washington Counties in Oregon or Clark County in Washington. All of these counties center on Portland.

Applicants must submit a "Personal Statement" answering the question "What would you do to make the Japanese Traditional Arts relevant to the younger generation of Asian Americans?" and list "all community and Asian American community involvement" and involvement, if any, in sponsoring organizations -- Buddhist Henjyoji Temple, Epworth United Methodist Church, Gresham-Troutdale JACL, Japanese Ancestral Society (Nikkei Jinkai), Japanese Women's Society (Nikkei Fujinkai), Nichiren Buddhist Temple, Oregon Buddhist Temple, Oregon Nisei Veterans, Portland JACL, Shokookai and Veleda.

Kimura family in Minidoka Relocation Center

The following composite of the heading and family data from the Final Accountability Roster of the Minidoka Relocation Center dated October 1945 shows the status of the Kimuras and their children at the time of their departure from the camp (National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, Washington, D. C.: 1956).

Kimura family at Minidoka The Kimuras were interned from 9 September 1942 to 20 October 1945 and two children were born in the camp.
Their internment lasted about 37 months, from 9 months after Pearl Harbor to 2 months after the war ended.

M = married     S = single     A = alien     C = citizen     PrAC = Portland Assembly Center     B = Birth
Click on image to enlarge

Name changes

Some time after their release from the Minidoka camp, probably at the time they naturalized, Gikan Yoshihiro Kimura became Daiyu Yoshihiro Henjyoji and Kazuko became Kazuko Wako Henjoji (Wako may have been her maiden name).

The Minidoka records show the Henjyoji children with Japanese-style first names. Most Japanese who immigrated to the United States gave their American-born children "Christian" first names and Japanese middle names. It appears the Henjyoji children adopted "Christian" first names, and relegated their Japanese given names to middle names, after the family was released from Minidoka. And I would guess they did so before their parents naturalized.

Yoshimasa became Edward Yoshimasa (b1940), Mitsuko became Florence "Flo" Mitsuko (b1942), Hiroaki became Grant Hiroaki (1943-1969), and Shinjyo became Howard Shinjyo (Shinjo) Henjyoji (1945-1982).

The two youngest children, who were born after the Kimura family left Minidoka, are Lucy Teruko Henjyoji (b1946) and Richard "Rich" Kenshu Henjyoji (1947-2013).

Records from the Probate Department of the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon, County of Multnomah, which includes Portland, show that a Luci T. Batchelor was appointed as the personal representative of Richard's estate on 10 January 2014. "Lucy" changed her name to Luci. Her oldest child and first son was born in 1972. His middle name is Grant.


I cannot find naturalization records for Edward Henjyoji's parents. But an 8 May 1961 flight manifest filed by a plane arriving at Anchorage, presumably from Japan, shows "Henjyoji Kazuko W" as a citizen of U.S.A. with a U.S. passport number and a Portland address. And Grant appears in a 1959 high school yearbook as "Zenjyoji". So I would guess that Yoshihiro and Kazuko naturalized during the 1950s.

From their inception in 1791, U.S. naturalization (nationality) laws generally forbade the naturalization of immigrants from the Orient, and there were few exceptions. But in 1943, during the Pacific War, because the Republic of China was a major ally in the campaign against Japan, Congress repealed Chinese exclusion laws, raised the annual quota of Chinese immigrants from zero to about 100, and allowed Chinese immigrants to naturalize. All racial cum national origin barriers to naturalization were eliminated in 1952. I would therefore narrow the window of naturalization for Edward Henjyoji's parents to the mid 1950s.

Family of wrestlers

Grant Henjyoji was a champion wrestler at University of Oregon (Class of 1967), and after his death in 1969 the university established a memorial trophy in his name.

Grant's 1st younger brother, Howard "Howie" Henjyoji, also made a name for himself as a grappler at Harvard University (Class of 1967). From Harvard, Howard went to the University of Oregon Medical School (Class of 1971) and became a pediatrician.

The youngest of the 4 Henjyoji brothers, Richard, also competed on high school and college wrestling teams. The Porland Interscholastic League (PIL) Hall of Fame states "High School Honors: Wrestling four-year letter winner; Four-time PIL Champion (98 lb, 106 lb, 123 lb twice); State Champion at 106 lb; State Runner-up at 123 lb; State of Oregon Greco-Roman Champion; State of Oregon Freestyle Champion" and "Post High School Career: Four-year letter winner at Oklahoma State University".

Cleveland High School

All six Henjyoji children graduated from Cleveland High School in Portland. All were active in school activities. Most were National Honor Society students and served in various class officer posts.

Dr. Henjyoji as plastic surgeon

Dr. Henjyoji introduces his professional services as a plastic surgeon, on his promotional website, as follows.

Dr. Henjyoji is a Board Certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in liposuction and cosmetic procedures for the face, nose and breasts.

Welcome to my new web site! You are taking one of the most important first steps by researching the plastic surgery procedures that interest you, and researching a physician's background. I hope to provide you with the information you need to help you make your decision. However, please remember that the information on this web site is intended to serve as an educational overview of certain plastic surgery procedures that I regularly perform. It is not intended to make any representations or warranties about the outcome of any procedure and should not be viewed as a substitute for a thorough, in-person consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. The best way to have all your questions answered is to schedule a consultation meeting with me at my office, where I can present more detailed information about the surgical procedures and answer any questions you may have. Thank you for taking the time to read what this web site has to offer.

Dr. Henjyoji received his B.A. and M.D. degrees at Johns Hopkins University and his plastic surgery training at Stanford University Medical Center. He has been in practice in California since 1971 and he was certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 1974.


Grant Henjyoji 1959 Grant Henjyoji 1961 Grant Henjyoji 1962

Top left
Grant Henjyoji, 1959, Sophomore
Cleveland High School, Portland
Photo from Legend yearbook
Top middle
Grant Henjyoji, 1961, Senior
Cleveland High School, Portland
Photo from Legend yearbook
Top right
Grant Henjyoji, 1962, Wrestler
Oregon State University, Portland
Copped from

1st Lt. Grant Henjyoji, U.S. Army
Portrait copped from
Virtual Vietnam Veterans Wall of Faces

Tombstone of Grant Hikoaki Henjyoji
Arlington National Cemetery
Find a Grave photo by John Evans

BSM & OLC = Bronze Star Medal
with Oak Leaf Cluster
AM = Air Medal
PH = Purple Heart

Grant Henjyoji 1968-1969 Grant Hiroaki Henjyoji tombstone

Grant Hiroaki Henjyoji (1943-1969)

KIA at LZ Grant

Edward Henjyoji's kid brother, U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Grant Hikoaki Henjyoji, while serving at LZ Grant, aka FSB Grant, with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th U.S. Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed in action from small arms fire in Lai Chau, South Vietnam, on 8 March 1969. The landing zone, or forward support base, was named after the commanding officer who had set it up.

The perimter around LZ Grant was established on 22 February 1969. Some miliary records describe the main assualts on the base between 7 and 11 March 1969 as the "Defense of LZ Grant". The main attack came early in the morning of 8 March, during which Grant Henjyoji was killed. Several Oregon papers carried AP reports of the deaths of Oregon soldiers including Henjyoji.

Find a Grave profile (viewed June 2018)

1st Lt Henjyoji #05716432
MOS:1542 Infantry Unit Commander

Grant was serving with the US Army Reserves while living in Portland,before going into active duty.

He arrived in Vietnam 16 October 1968 and was assigned to D Company, 2nd Battalion, 11th Calvary, 1st Calvary Division, USARV. Grant died from hostile gunshot wounds during a hostile attack at FSB Grant, 11 kilometers east northeast of Nui Ba Den Mountain.

Survived by his parents, Rev & Mrs Datyu Y Henjyoji of 2622 S East 12th Ave, Portland, OR.

Faces from the Wall, Oregon and the Vietnam War

Newspaper reports

The 14 March 1969 edition of Eugene Register-Guard, for example, reported as follows (Oregon Genealogical Society).

Another Vietnam casualty reported Thursday was a 1967 graduate of the University of Oregon. Killed in action was 1st Lt. Grant Henjyoji, 25, the son of the Rev. and Mrs. Daiyu Henjyoji, of Portland. Young Henjyoji was born in a relocation camp for Japanese-Americans in Idaho during WWII. Henjyoji served with the Reserves Officers Training Corps while at the university.

The 29 January 1995 edition of The Baltimore Sun carred a long article by Tom Bowman, entitled "A Lasting Legacy", about the endeavors of some veterans of the Vietnam War, in both the United States and Vietnam, to locate the remains of Democratic Republic of Vietnam soldiers who were killed in the 8 March 1969 attack on LZ Grant and buried in a mass grave by American soldiers after the attack, which left many Americans and 95 North Vietnamese soldiers dead. The following account of the battle represents only about one-forth of the article. The entire article can be read here if the link is still active (viewed 2015).

A Lasting Legacy

By Tom Bowman

January 29, 1995

[ . . . ]

BY THE SPRING OF 1969, the war had entered a brutal phase: American troop numbers rose to a peak of 543,000. President Nixon, just entering office, expanded the fighting into Laos and Cambodia and the North Vietnamese mounted a counteroffensive.

Corporal Kapucinski had a strange feeling the night of March 8, 1969. He was gearing up for guard duty at LZ Grant, an American military outpost near the somber silhouette of Black Virgin Mountain.

Suddenly in the woods he saw a bizarre sight about 50 yards out: beams of light. An enemy famed for its stealth was heading toward him with -- flashlights!

The thought was swept away by thunderous explosions. Torpedoes and mortars ripped through the concertina wire. A regiment of the First North Vietnamese Army surged forward.

The soldier who lit the cigarette turned and ran, while the Louisiana man was stunned by a mortar round, his face grimy with dirt. Corporal Kapucinski fired at the darting enemy, illuminated by flares and mortars.

One mortar round smashed into the command post just behind him, killing several officers. Corporal Kapucinski was stung in the hand by shrapnel but kept shooting his M-79.

Just before dawn U.S. jets roared overhead and dropped napalm. The first load landed squarely on the enemy. The second on the Americans. If was difficult for Corporal Kapucinski to tell if the running figures bathed in flames were his comrades or the North Vietnamese.

The sun rose through the haze and smoke. Dead and dying littered LZ Grant. The wounded stumbled about, numb with shock. A U.S. soldier emerged from the woods, smiling at his luck in surviving the battle at a lookout post in the trees. But the man was mistaken for the enemy; his own troops cut him down with machine-gun fire.

Ponchos were draped over the 17 American dead. Corporal Kapucinski noticed a pair of black, horn-rimmed glasses in the dirt next to one covered corpse. He thought of the officer who once wore them.

Soldiers began to load the enemy dead on a small trailer hitched to a Jeep. But they didn't bury them right away. They left them in a row outside the wire, as a warning to the enemy.

Soon the members of 95 C Regiment of the First North Vietnamese Army were assembled in a shallow grave.

Corporal Kapucinksi spent a year in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division, returning home to Bay Village, Ohio, with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

That wasn't all. He carried a raging bitterness toward the U.S. government, convinced it had treated him and his friends as "cannon fodder." And deep inside was an overwhelming guilt for the lives he took.

He quietly spoke of his troubles to a Catholic priest and later a counselor. Other than that, he was not one to tell war stories.

Mr. Kapucinski got a job at the Bay Barber Shop, married, joined several veterans' organizations and settled in for life in his small Midwestern town, set by the shore of Lake Erie.

Then early in 1994 he got a letter from the Vietnam Veterans of America, asking for help in something called the Veterans Initiative. He remembered something in one of his scrapbooks, a photo he had taken from a helicopter as it hovered several hundred feet above LZ Grant.

[ . . . ]

Killed in action at LZ Grant

The men who died at LZ Grant, in the action that killed Grant Henjyoji, were as follows (Virtual Wall).

2nd Bn, 12th Cavalry:
    LTC Peter L. Gorvad, Oakland, CA, HQ Company (Bn CO)
    CPT William R. Black, Newbern, TN, D Company
    CPT John P. Emrath, Lexington, KY, HQ Company
    1LT Grant H. Henjyoji, Portland, OR, D Company
    1LT Peter L. Tripp, Greenwich, CT, HQ Company
    SGT Walter B. Hoxworth, Struthers, OH, C Company
    CPL Larry E. Evans, Van Wert, OH, D Company
    CPL Vincent F. Guerrero, Sinajana, GU, E Company
    SP4 John R. Hornsby, Paducah, KY, E Company
    PFC Charles D. Snyder, St Clair Shores, MI, D Company

1st Bn, 30th Artillery:
    SP4 Thomas J. Roach, Royal Oak, MI, A Battery (Bronze Star "V")
    PFC Glenn R. Stair, Akron, OH, A Battery (Bronze Star "V")
    PFC Roy D. Wimmer, Whitewood, VA, A Battery (Bronze Star "V")

1st Bn, 77th Artillery:
    SP4 Gordon C. Murray, Greenacres City, FL, HQ Battery

Together We Served

The Together We Served website features the following overview of the life of 1st Lieutenant Grant Hiroaki Henjyoji.

Henjyoji, Grant Hiroaki, 1LT

Grant Henjyogi [sic = Henjyoji] was born in Camp Minidoka, a Japanese-American relocation camp near Hunt, Idaho during WWII. His childhood name was Hiroaki Kimura. He was a wrestler in high school and college, even trying out for the Olympic Team.

He served with the Reserves Officers Training Corps while at the University of Oregon, graduating in 1967.

Initially, he served as an administrator in the Adjutant General's Corps. He was stationed at Fort Lewis prior to going to Vietnam.

In Vietnam, he served with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th US Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division at LZ Grant, about 15 miles northeast of Tay Ninh City. He was killed during a night battle when LZ Grant was mortared and attacked by NVA forces.

He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 34, Grave 326A.


The Wall of Faces memorial for Grant Hiroaki Henjyoji, posted on the website of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, includes the following message from a fellow soldier who was there with him.

A Thank You,
Posted on 6/3/01
To a soldier who gave me his personnel weapon when I went into a tunnel for the first time, Thank You. To a soldier who seen that I was in need of help and he asked me to carry my Backpack when I was compass man and we had to walk all night to get to a place where another company was pinned down in a firefight and was taking in heavy casualties, Thank You. To a Soldier whom I remember, when I was on the ground wounded on that night of March 8, 1969 and was told at daylight that you were gone. You were on my mind and will never be forgotten. My prayers are with you friend and may you rest in peace.

Funeral services

The Wednesday, 26 March 1969 edition of The Daily Chronicle, a Centralia, Washington paper, carried the following brief on Grant Henjyoji's funeral service (page 8).

Henjyoji Rites Said

PORTLAND (AP) -- Chimes and gongs and burning incense accompanied the funeral of Grant H. Henjyoji in Portland Tuesday.

Henjyoji was an Army lieutenant.

He was also a Buddhist.

His birthplace was a Japanese internment camp at Minidoka, Idaho.

Conducting the service was his father, Bishop Daiyu Henjyoji. The bishop wore gold and purple robes and an ancestral headdress.

At his right was a Samurai sword, symbolizing courage and bravery. At his left were white Chrysanthemums, for beauty and spirit.

The aisles of the Buddhist temple were lined with stone lanterns and rhododendron trees lined the walls.

But the casket was with an American flag draped. And the color guard was from Ft. Lewis, Wash. U.

Henjyoji will be buried Friday, with full military honors, in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.



The Kimuras/Henjyojis were victims of the sort of racialism and racism that, contrary to the opinion of some people, are still very much part of the fabric of federal, state, and municipal laws and policies in the United States. Everyone was, and continues to be, a victim the entrenched belief, now stronger than ever, that "race boxes" play a useful and even essential role in American life. Even in death, Grant Henjyoji was unable to escape the tentacles of the Army's racial labels.

US military race boxes

My service in the US Army ended the year before Grant Henjyoji's service began. When enlisting in 1963 I was a "CAU" for "Caucasian". When discharged in 1966 I was "NA" for "Non applicable".

The standalone box called "7. RACE" on my DA FORM 20 "Enlisted Qualification Record" says "CAU". Contemporary Army regulations required that one "Enter the first three letters of one of the following: Caucasian, Negroid, Mongolian, Indian (American), or Malayan. Example: Caucasian will be entered as Cau."

My DA FORM 214 "Report of Transfer or Discharge" -- which honorably released me, in 1966, from my 3-year enlistment in the United States Army in 1963 -- has a race box called "7a. RACE". On the form, the "RACE" appears as an unreadable black bar and "NA" is typed in the box. "b. SEX" says "MALE" and c, d, e, and f are COLOR HAIR, COLOR EYES, HEIGHT, and WEIGHT. Race, in other words, had been the highest order of physical trait on this form.

I didn't think much about races boxes then. Today, when confronted with a race box, I either ignore it, cross it out, or write NOYB -- "none of your business" -- or optionally NOYFB.

There is nothing more insideous in this world than a race box. Races boxes have proliferated in the United States, which is one of the most race-in-your-face states in the world.

See the Race section of my Yosha Bunko site, especially Race boxes on US military records, for a look at the politics of "race" in America.

U.S. Army Personnel and Dependent Casualties
1956-1998 database

Name: Grant Hiroaki Henjyoji
Birth Date: 13 Dec 1943
Death Date: 8 Mar 1969
Gender: Male
Age: 25
Race: Mongolian
Home City: Portland
Home State: Oregon
Religion: Buddhism
Marital Status: Single
SSN/Service #: O5716432
Citizen Status: U.S.
Death Date: 8 Mar 1969
Processed Date: Mar 1969
Casualty Country: Republic of Vietnam
Casualty Type: Hostile - Killed
Casualty Reason: Gunshot or Small Arms Fire
Casualty Air: Ground Casualty
Body Status: Body Recovered
Service Branch: Department of the Army
Component: Reserve
Military Grade: First Lieutenant
Pay Grade: First Lieutenant
Province: Military Region 3 - Tay Ninh
Length of Service : 01
Service Occupation: Infantry Unit Commander
Data Source: Combat Area Casualties Current File


Ronald J. Glasser (Camp Zama Hospital, 1968-1969)

Dramatizations of misinformation about Kishine

Many popular accounts of hospitals in Japan during the Vietnam war -- most, I would say -- are full of small errors that seem to have evaded "fact checking", as though no one bothered to confirm spellings and dates and at times even more substantial details. The following account comes from Ronald Glasser's 365 Days (1971), which has been periodically published and remains in print.

Zama, where I was assigned in September 1968, was a 700-bed hospital with a small pediatric unit of five beds and a nursery. It was the only general Army hospital in Japan. There were internists, anesthesiologists, ophthalmologists, obstetricians, gynecologists, oral surgeons, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, ENT specialists, thoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons, and even an allergist.

We have four Army hospitals scattered about the plains -- Drake, Ojiie [sic = Oji], Kishine, and Zama. It's hard to know what they've told you about Tet, but over here, the operating rooms never stopped. The internists and obstetricians did minor surgery, and the surgeons lived in the OR. But even when there are no offensives we're busy. We don't just get the Herberts -- we get them all: the burns, the head wounds, the cords, the tumors. Medicine is always busy, too. The medical wards are full of patients with hepatitis, malaria, pneumonia, and kidney failure. It is something of an achievement that we're able to do so much. In 1966 there was only one 90-bed Army dispensary in Japan; in fact, there was little else in the rest of Asia. When President Johnson chose to listen to his military advisers and send in ground troops, the Army had the choice of expanding the existing medical facilities here in Japan, building up those in the Philippines, or starting from scratch in Okinawa. Okinawa was too expensive -- something about cost plus and American-type labor unions. The Philippines looked a bit too unstable, and so, despite Okinawa being four hours closer to Nam, and the Philippines having more available land, the Army chose Japan.

[ . . . ]

Everything was put here into the Kanto Plains and clustered around the Air Force bases at Tachikawa and Yokota. The Air Force brings our patients in over the mountains in their C-141's. They stay at Yokota overnight at the 20th casualty staging area, where they're stabilized. A lot of them have already been operated on -- some massively -- and it's a long trip here. So they rest a while; they are checked again, and, if necessary, rehydrated. Nam's hot, 110 degrees in the shade, and these kids were carrying sixty and seventy pounds of equipment and ammunition when they got hit. Some of them, too, have been humping it like that for days if not weeks. They're dehydrated, every one of them. The fluids they get at the 20th give them a bit of an edge. If they're very critical, though, very seriously ill, and can't wait, they're med evac'ed by chopper as soon as they get off the C-141's to one of our four hospitals.

Glasser 1971 1971 1971 George Braziller (New York)
Hardcover edition
Glasser 1971 1971 1972 Bantam Books
Paperback edition
Glasser 1971 1971 1972 Dramatization by Balk
University of Minnesota Press
Glasser 1971 1973 1973 Corgi Childrens (London)
Paperback edition
Glasser 1971 1980 1980 George Braziller (New York)
Hardcover edition
Glasser 1971 2003 1980 George Braziller (New York)
Paper cover edition
Glasser 1971 2014 2014 George Braziller (New York)
Paper cover edition
Glasser 1971 2014 2014 Open Road Media
Ebook edition


Wahlberg's interview with Glasser

On 15 January 2013, Adam Wahlberg, founder of Think Piece Publishing, posted The Think Piece Interview: Dr. Ron Glasser, who over forty years earlier had published 365 Days. The book, which became a minor bestseller in the early 1970s while the Vietnam War was still going on, has been reprinted a number of times by various publishers and remains in print. Glasser became the most prolific medical writer to come out of the Vietnam era.

365 Days includes a story inspired by Edward Y. Henjyoji, a physician in the Burn Unit at the 106th General Hospital. In Wahlberg's interview, Glasser reveals that Dr. Henjyoji happened to be a classmate of his at The Johns Hopkins University.

Year books confirm that the two men were not just medical school classmates. The list of students graduating with Bachehor of Arts degrees from The Johns Hopkins University in June 1961, at the end of the university's 85th year, includes Ronald Joel Glasser of Chicago, Illinois, and Edward Yoshimasa Henjyoji of Portland, Oregon.

Wahlberg's interview of Glasser includes the following parts, relevant to the 106th General Hospital and Dr. Henjyoji, which I have extracted from the much longer interview, which focuses on Glasser's view of PTSD and Vietnam veterans -- a highly controversial issue regarding which Glasser strongly advocates on the pro-PTSD side. "Predictably" I would would add, given the tone of 365 Days, which he wrote while stationed during the late 1960s while working as a pediatrician at the U.S. Army Hospital at Camp Zama while Henjyoji was at Kishine.

The Think Piece Interview: Dr. Ron Glasser

15 Jan 2013

Written by Adam Wahlberg

In 1971, Minneapolis physician Ron Glasser shook the literary world and the foreign policy establishment with his groundbreaking work, 365 Days, which documented his time as a physician during the Vietnam war. He interviewed soldiers as he treated them, wrote down their stories, saw them as they struggled with mental health challenges such as PTSD, and forever changed the way we view war. We sat down with him in Minneapolis recently to talk about the writing of his masterwork, the impact of war on the mental condition of soldiers, and why The Naked and the Dead is overrated.

TP: How long did you serve overseas?

RG: Two years, at Camp Zama, Japan.

TP: Did you write the manuscript when you got back to Minnesota?

RG: No, I wrote it while I was over there. It took me three months.

TP: How did you find the time?

RG: There was nothing else to do. Listen, let me just tell you, this artistic nonsense about being a writer where you have to be set, things have to be quiet, people have to leave you alone, it's a bunch of shit. I mean, it's just so stupid. You just have to write an hour a day. Then you think about it all day. That's it.

[ . . . ]

TP: And your solution was to do multiple narratives?

RG: Yes. We just divided it into the major units. We needed helicopters. In the burn ward, there was so much of that. I met people in the military I hadn't seen since kindergarten. We all got drafted at the same time. We went through grammar school, high school, medical school, internship, residency; I had met people since I had honest to god not seen since kindergarten. They were in the military or they were physicians or they were at Zama, and Ed Henjyoji was someone I had gone to medical school with. He was in the burn ward in Koshini [sic = Kishine], which was 20 miles from Zama, and I had got a call from Richard Frankel, who I had gone to grammar school with. He had gone to the University of Illinois, I had gone to Hopkins, and we had talked and he had known about Ed Henjyoji. He was a pathologist at the mortuary, and he called me in and asked, Did Ed have any relatives in Vietnam? I said, Yeah, he has a brother, Grant, who's in the Marines, and he says, He's dead. And I called Ed and said Grant's been killed and he's at the mortuary . . . [pauses, tears up] . . . well, it creeps up on you . . . Ed made the mistake of taking the body home, so when I came back, I went to Koshini [sic = Kishine] and I said, Look, Ed, what was it like to take the body home? And I sat there and just wrote it down.

TP: Was yours the first war book written by a physician?

RG: It was. And it was the first book that was published that became a best seller while the war was on. It was published in 1971. The first one. I mean The Red Badge of Courage was 1895. Stephen Crane wasn't even in the Civil War.

[ . . . ]

-- This interview has been edited and condensed for publication.


"The Burn Ward"

365 Days was reviewed in The New York Times by Michael G. Michaelson on 26 September 1971 (Book Review section, page BR40). Ed Henjyoji is the model for "Edwards" in the final story -- "I Don't Want to Go Home Alone" (pages 256-288).

The 17 June 1971 issue of The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University's student newspaper -- possibly before the release of the book -- published a version of its final story under the title "The Burn Ward" and the byline "Former Major". The Crimson version is practically the same as the version in book.

The Crimson ran "The Burn Unit" for reasons its student editors disclose in the italicized preface to the story. They were clearly opposed to the then still-raging but gradually slowing war.

I have taken the liberty to cite several parts of "The Burn Ward" including especially the parts related to Kishine Barracks -- which Glasser accurately names -- and the 106th General Hospital -- which Glasser either intentionally fictionalizes, or unwittingly misidentifies, as the "109th General Hospital". His descriptions of the hospital are rather odd.

The Burn Ward

By Former Major, June 17, 1971

We publish this article not as any sort of analysis, but simply as the most impressive reminder we could find of the slaughter this country continues -- and the price she is paying -- as Harvard parties through Commencement Week. As a reminder of the price the Vietnamese are paying for our trespasses, we include Dieter Ludwig's photographs for Distpatch [sic = Dispatch] News Service.

You cried at Love Story? Wait 'til you read this

Dispatch News Service, founded in 1968 by a few very young journalists who were covering mainly the Vietnam War. DNS, and one of its reporters, received the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1969 for breaking the story of the massacre at My Lai. In 1970, one of its founders, Michael D. Morrow, then 24, who had come to Vietnam in 1967, was fluent in Vietnamese and had married a Vietnam-born woman, was expelled by Vietnam for allegedly being involved in its internal affairs (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, Sunday, 22 November 1970, page 14). "Love Story" -- the 1970 movie starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal -- featured a romance between a Harvard student from an upper-class family and a Radcliffe College student from a low-class family.

Edwards picked up the stethoscope from his desk. "Look," he said, "You can say what you want about the Army and its problems, but I learned this much from going home: the Army treats you better dead than alive. I know," he added quickly to keep the captain from talking. "I know, it was my fault. I shouldn't have got involved with taking the body back. But I did."

"It's coming," the corpsman said, stepping away from the window.

Edwards stuffed the stethoscope into his back pocket. "OK. Tell the ward master. Better fill the whirlpools. I'll be down at the landing pad." He pushed open the double doors to the burn unit.

The huge overhead lights were off, leaving only the night lights to flicker feebly across the shiny, tiled floor. He walked quietly down the center aisle of the ward, his footsteps echoing lightly ahead of him. The beds lining the wall were barely visible, the patients no more than lumps against the frames. From the far end of the ward came the faint mechanical hissing of a respirator. He stopped a moment near one of the steel-arched Stryker frames to listen. The machines slow regular rhythm was almost soothing. How many times he'd heard it before. Someone had once said he'd signed more death certificates than any other doctor in Japan. Probably right, he thought, continuing on his way. At Kishine, the respirator was the sound of death, not life; in all his time there, he could not think of one patient who had got off the thing.

[ . . . ]

As he walked away, Edwards could hear Crowley drawing the curtains closed behind him. The stairwell was empty and he walked slowly down to the first floor and out onto the concrete walkway.

It was summer outside and the night was as warm as indoors. He cut across the empty silent field separating the hospital's squat buildings from the helipad. where the red lights of the landing strip flickered softly in the misty dark. Far away he heard the muffled dull thudding of the chopper whopping its way through the heavy air, and suddenly he felt alone and desperately tired.

[ . . . Flashback . . . ]

Grimly, with the chopper coming nearer-louder-Edwards walked up a slight rise, past a small, dimly lit sign:

United States Army, Japan
Burn Unit

I can't think of good reason for fictionalizing "106th" as "109th" -- especially in view of the fact that "Kishine Barracks" is clearly specified. It makes more sense to think that Glasser just made a mistake.

[ . . . Flashback . . . ]

By the time he reached the evac area, the floodlights were on and the chopper had landed. Coming in from the dark around the back of the evac guiding [sic = building] Edwards was dazzled by the sudden lights. The Huey, low and glistening, its rotors still whirling, sat like a toy exactly in the middle of the arc lights. Its crew chief and co-pilot were already in the open hatchway unstrapping the litters from their carrying hooks. Edwards watched unseen while the corpsmen hurried out to the chopper to off-load the patients. The choppers usually came in about 10 in the morning, but when a bad burn was evac'd [sic = evac'ed] to Japan, they were born in the same night. Burns are a very special kind of wound, and no physician anywhere wants the responsibility of caring for them, not even for a little while. For openers, burns look bad and the patients die.

I have no recollection of an "evacuation building" at the 106th General Hospital when I was there from December 1965 through September 1966. Patients were brought directly to the wards where they would need to be to receive treatment specific to their condition. None of the wards were very far from the heliport. The conditions of the patients -- the reasons they were being evacuated to the hospital -- were generally anticipated before their arrival. Even in the lab we usually knew when a load of burn patients were coming in, so we would expect stat orders for electrolytes and blood gas, among other tests more specific to the treatment of severe burns. There were not a lot of surprises.

[ . . . Flashback . . . ]

[ . . . ]

Edwards watched the corpsman wheel the boy out of the evac area, and then left the area himself to go to the neurosurgey ward. It was a long walk. Like all army hospitals, Kishine is fantastically spread out, its buildings and wards acres apart so that no one shell or bomb can get it all. By the time he got to the ward, the neurosurgeon was already in the treatment room. The patient, partially hidden by the nurse and doctor, was lying naked on the treatment table. There were blood-soaked clothes and bandages all over the floor. Cramer turned his head for a moment, looked at Edwards and went back to work.

Glasser's imagination is running amok here. Kishine Barracks was known as an unusually compact facility -- unlike older bases like Camp Zama, where he was posted. One large bomb on the Pathology Laboratory, where I worked, between Buildings B and C, in front of the Mess Hall, would have crippled the 106th General Hospital. Surgery, CIU, and CMS were originally set up in Building C. A few months later, in order to accommodate more beds, long single-story buidings were erected northeast of the Mess Hall for surgery, CIU, and CMS. This required the construction of covered walkways between the 4-story buildings, where the wards were located, to faciliate the gurneying of patients between the wards and the building housing the operating and recovery rooms. Even in Vietnam, field hospitals were set up to more-or-less minimize the distance between wards and specialized facilities.

[ . . . ]


Glasser's other publications

Glasser went on to author a number of other books about medical practices and conditions in military and civilian hospitals and also a couple of medical novels.

Broken Bodies, Shattered Minds (2011)

The Iraq War inspired him to return to questions he had often raised about the changing nature of the wounds that battlefield survivors and their families have to live with. Broken Bodies, Shattered Minds was published in 2011.

The following text is a cut and paste of the publicity that appears on both the publisher's and the author's websites.

Glasser 2011 A Medical Odyssey from Vietnam to Afghanistan

Ronald J. Glasser, M.D.
Broken Bodies, Shattered Minds
(A Medical Odyssey from Vietnam to Afghanistan)
Palisades (NY): History Publishing Company, 2011
273 pages, paper cover

Told in the narrative, and from personal experience, author traces changing nature of warfare from jungles of Vietnam to streets and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan and the physical and psychological damage of wounds to troops in U.S. Army and Marine Corps. And what it has come to realize.

The efficiency of evacuation units has led to quick treatment of IED-caused wounds resulting in life-saving amputation,most since American Civil War. Amputation on women soldiers and their difficulty using prosthetics designed for male soldiers is examined and, large scale concussive cerebral damage, a new phenomenon in military medical treatment requiring lifetime care of the wounded, is examined and the escalating, hidden costs of lifetime care put into perspective. New, previously unpublished studies on the concussive effects on the brain are presented. Something also relative to NFL interest.

Using narrative vignettes,the rising medical and sociological costs of the Afghan War are clearly defined and the escalating hidden costs of long term medical care are put into projection.

Lt. General Harold Moore wrote the Foreword.
Pub Date: June 15, 2011.

Broken Bodies, Shattered Minds makes problematic references to Max Cleland. Glasser claims he saw Cleland at Camp Zama and otherwise associates him with Camp Zama. Cleland has always stated, in his books and interviews, that he was medevaced through the 106th General Hospital. See Glasser 2011 above for excerpts and other details.


Glasser's novels

There is no novel in Nam, there is not enough for a plot, nor is there really any character development. If you survive 365 days without getting killed or wounded you simply go home and take up again where you left off.

Glasser wrote in his foreword to 365 Days (1971, page xii). If he intended these statements as self-evident truths, then 365 Days is pure irony. For the stories Glasser tells between the covers of 365 Days are all about plot and character development. Even his own character developed to the point that, though not killed or wounded, he was unable to simply go home and take up where he had left off.

Even while still in the Army, Glasser began to turn his wartime experiences in Japan into what became, for him, a second profession, as a writer of attention grabbing semi-novelistic non-fiction, as well as semi-non-fictional novels.

As I write this in 2016 (and review it in 2018), three of what appear to be his favorite works are available through Open Road Media, Amazon, AbeBooks, and other distributors in 2014 Kindle and POD editions -- 365 Days (1971), and two novels, Ward 402 (1973) and Another War, Another Peace (1985).

Ward 402 (1973)

Glasser's first novel, Ward 402 (1973), came out on the heels of 365 Days (1971) and rode its wave to minor popularity that included a Book of the Month Club edition. The novel is a semi-autobiographical story about an intern who has to make life-death decisions on a pediatric ward.

Glasser 1973 1973 1973 George Braziller (New York)
Hardcover edition
Glasser 1973 1973 1974 Garnstone Press (London)
Hardcover edition
Glasser 1973 1974 1974 Pocket Books
Paperback edition
Glasser 1973 1973 2014 Open Road Media
Ebook and POD edition

Glasser's website describes Ward 402 as follows.

New York Times Best Seller List

WARD 402: Published in 1973 by George Braziller, Inc., it is it [sic] is the story of an intern on the children's ward of a great hospital who is confronted by the angry parents of a dying child as extraordinary means are used to keep her alive. The experience teaches him much more about the human body and spirit than any anatomy class. The book raises many questions pertinent to issues confronting us today, including euthanasia and the need for health car [sic = care] reform. WARD 402 is preeminently a book for our time, a story that touches the lives of all of us today, and that only a dedicated physician is equipped to tell.

WARD 402 was optioned for a made for television movie.
The book was translated into three languages.

Another War, Another Peace (1985)

Glasser's second novel, Another War, Another Peace (1985), came out a decade after the war ended in 1975, as memoirs, novels, and memoirs about the war were coming into vogue. The story is about two soldiers who bond as friends while assigned to MEDCAP (Medical Civic Assistance Program) duties.

Glasser 1985 1985 1985 Summit Books (Simon &
Schuster) Hardcover edition
Glasser 1985 1986 1986 Ballantine Books
Paperback edition
Glasser 1985 2014 2014 Open Road Media
Ebook and POD edition

Glasser's website describes Another War, Another Peace as follows.

Another War, Another Peace: Hardcover published in 1984 by Simon & Schuster, Inc., and paperback published in 1986 by Ballentine Books, by arrangement with Simon & Schuster, Inc., this [sic] is the poignant story of one man's passage from ignorance to cynicism in the Vietnam War. Sharply focused and painfully truthful, the novel is a chapter of the Vietnam War that illuminates the entire saga. A novel of the Vietnam war.


Colonel Alexander M. Boysen, M.D., U.S. Army Medical Corps

Commander, 106th General Hospital, Kishine Barracks, 1968-1970

Alexander Marius Boysen (1923-2002) was the second of the 106th General Hospital's two commanding officers during its deployment at Kishine Barracks. He succeeded the first commander, Colonel Charles Reed, in 1968, and remained in command until the 106th was closed in 1970.

Boysen was born on 25 December 1923 in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota. He was living in Oconee, Georgia, when he passed away on 25 March 2002. He and his wife, Margaret LeVan Boysen (1926-1995), were interred in Arlington National Cemetery on 2 August 2002. His Veteran Service Dates show he served from 9 September 1944 to 1 October 1973.

The couple had already married an started their family by December 1948, when Margaret received a BS degree in nursing from the College of Medical Sciences of University of Minnesota. The Monday, 20 December 1948 edition of The Morning Herald, a Hagerstown, Maryland paper, carried a brief on its society page that reported her graduation and noted that she was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Gerald W. LeVan of Boonsboro, which is also in Maryland, and that the LeVans had been guests of their son-in-law and daughter while in Minneapolis to attend the graduation ceremony (page 7).

Boysen's unique story

"Boysen had his own unique story, having been captured during the Korean War, spending 3 years as a POW in North Korea," Harold Rubin related to me in email (March 2016). "I always seek books about Korean War POWs and have found several references about him."

Rubin served under Boysen as the Chief of the Pharmacy Service at the 106th General Hospital. Both men arrived at the 106th in 1968 and witnessed its closing in 1970. Boysen became the commander of the U.S. Army Hospital at Camp Zama and all other U.S. Army medical units in Japan, while Rubin, a captain in the Medical Service Corp, became the Chief of the Pharmacy Service at USAH Camp Zama

The following obituary was published in the Tuesday, 2 April 2002 edition the Athens Banner-Herald, and was posted the same day on the paper's Online Athens website.

Boysen 1970 Col. Alexander M. Boysen at Camp Zama, 1970
"Brigadier Gen. Hugh Richeson passes the U.S. Army Hospital Camp Zama colors to Col. Gerald A. Champin during a 1970 change of command while departing Col. Alexander M. Boysen watches."
Clipped from Camp Zama Through the Years: 1970s
United States Army Japan (

Alexander M. Boysen M.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army Medical Corps

Alexander Boysen, 78, of Bogart, Georgia, died Monday, March 25, 2002.

Born in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, "Pete" Boysen was the son of Ellen Elberg and Peter Boysen, and the widower of Margaret LeVan. He was a surgeon and command officer in the United States Army Medical Corps.

After receiving his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1948, he accepted a commission from the U.S. Army and was assigned to Ft. Lewis, Washington, to begin a Family Practice residency program, the first such program in the United States. In 1950, he volunteered for 90 days temporary duty to relieve rotating Army physicians in Yokohama, Japan. In July of that year, he joined the Medical Battalion of the 21st Regiment of the 24th Division in Pusan, Korea. Six days later, he was captured by North Korean communist forces and held in captivity until September 1953. He and his fellow prisoners are known as the Tiger Survivors.

"Doc" Boysen completed his surgical training at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, in 1959. Three years later, he became the Commanding Officers of the 8th Evac Hospital in Germany, which deployed to Iran to provide medical assistance and relief to earthquake survivors. In 1964, he was assigned to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Colonel Boysen became the Commanding Officer of the Ft. McPherson 3rd Army Hospital in Atlanta in 1966 before he was promoted in rank and assigned command of the 55th Medical Group in Vietnam, which included all Army medical facilities north of Saigon. In 1968, he became the Commanding Officer of Kishine Barracks, the 106th General Army Hospital in Yokohama, Japan, which received American casualties from Vietnam. Two years later, he assumed command of Zama Hospital and all other U.S. Army medical forces in Japan. After commanding the U.S. Reynolds Army Hospital in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, he retired from the Army in 1973 to become Director of Health Services for Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota.

An Eagle Scout, Colonel Boysen's military awards include the Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf Clusters, eight OS Bars, and the usual theater medals. His greatest award was the health and well being of the soldiers serving and recovering in the hospitals under his command.

Services will be at 3 p.m. Friday, April 5, at Lord & Stephens Funeral Home (West), with Chaplain Marc LaRocca-Pitts officiating.

Survivors include his brother, John Boysen of Ocala, Florida, his sister Elfrida Glas of Bemidji, Minnesota, his son and daughter-in-law, Dirk and Carey Boysen, of College Station, Texas, his daughter, Catherine Boysen Madison, and youngest son, Eric Boysen, both of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and four grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Tiger Survivors, c/o Shorty Estabrook, 23816 Matador Way, Murietta, CA 92562, or to the Athens Regional Medical Center Foundation, ARMC Auxiliary, 1199 Prince Avenue, Athens, GA 30606, in memory of Alexander M. Boysen.


Boysen's daughter's story

Boysen's return from to the United States from captivity was reported in the Friday, 18 September 1953 edition of The Daily Mail, a Hagerstown, Maryland paper, as follows (page 3).

Capt. Boysen Flies Back To His Family

Capt. Alexander M. Boysen, husb of Mrs. Margaret LeVan Boysen, Hartinsburg [West Virginia], is on his way to the United States from Japan by plane.

Mrs. Boysen, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Gerald LeVan, Boonsboro [Maryland], has talked with her husband three times by trans-Pacific telephone, since his release from a Corean prisoner of war camp.

"Corea" was a common alternative spelling of "Korea" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both, of course, were anglicizations which, like "China" and "Japan", bear little resemblance to the actual name of the the peninsular country. By World War II, however, "Korea" had become the standard English spelling and "Corea" the quainter spelling. The actual name of the country was "Chosŏ" or more commonly "Chosun" but also "Chosen" until 1897, when the the country became the "Empire of Korea" in English reflecting "Hanguk" in Korean. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea as Chosen, which became its formal in English as well -- except the world of English and other languages that persisted on calling the Japanese territory "Korea" or "Coria" and the like. The Allied Powers also referred to it as "Korea" though some documents have "Korea (Chosen)". Today, as in the past, all languages of East Asian countries make a vital distinction between words in their languages that correspond to "Korea" and "Chosŏ" (Chosun, Chosen). The former is associated with "South Korea" (Republic of Korea) and the latter with "North Korea" (Democratic People's Republic of Korea). In fact, however, "North Korea" does not actually use the word for "Korea" in its name -- except in English, mainly to appease the the sheer inertia of the indifference in English to distinctions made in East Asian languages. In the real East Asian world, one does not get away with calling a Korean "Chosenese" or a Chosenese "Korean" -- any more than in the real English world one can get away with calling a Scotsman an Englishman.

Capt. Boysen reported himself in good health during the telephone conversations.

Since his air trip from Japan will take him all the way to Washington, D. C., Mrs. Boysen has given up plans to meet her husband in California, and will be reunited with him in Washington, D. C., instead. Going to Washington with Mrs. Boysen will be the couple's small daughter, Cathy.

A decade after Boysen died in 2002, his daughter, Cathy Madison (b1949), born a year before he went to Yokohama in 1950, wrote the following memoir of what it was like to grow up with her father after his return.

Madison 2015 Alexander Boysen holding Catherine
University of Minnesota Press, 2015
Yosha Bunko scan
Madison 2015 Captain Alexander Boysen, circa 1950
National Archives photo

Cathy Madison
The War Came Home with Him:
A Daughter's Memoir

Twin Cities: University of Minnesota Press, 2015
232 pages, hardcover

[ Publisher's publicity ]

During his years as a POW in North Korea, "Doc" Boysen endured hardships he never intended to pass along, especially to his family. Men who refused to eat starved; his children would clean their plates. Men who were weak died; his children would develop character. They would also learn to fear their father, the hero. In a memoir at once harrowing and painfully poignant, Catherine Madison tells the stories of two survivors of one man's war: a father who withstood a prison camp's unspeakable inhumanity and a daughter who withstood the residual cruelty that came home with him.

Doc Boysen died fifty years after his ordeal, his POW experience concealed to the end in a hidden cache of documents. In The War Came Home with Him, Madison pieces together the horrible tale these papers told of a young captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps captured in July 1950, beaten and forced to march without shoes or coat on icy trails through mountains to camps where North Korean and Chinese captors held him for more than three years. As the truth about her father's past unfolds, Madison returns to a childhood troubled by his secret torment to consider, in a new light, the telling moments in their complex relationship.

Beginning at her father's deathbed, with all her questions still unspoken, and ending with their final conversation, Madison's dual memoir offers a powerful, intimate perspective on the suppressed grief and thwarted love that forever alter a family when a wounded soldier brings his war home.

Excerpt of prologue from The War Came Home with Him promotional website.

On this February night, my father is a bag of bones lying on his side under a thin hospital blanket. He is seventy-eight, and his kidneys are failing. His cheeks are sunken and his limbs spindly, like those of an awkward teen in a growth spurt. My fingers, long and thin like his, could encircle his leg. Without his glasses, he squints at the 2002 Olympic figure skaters on a television suspended awkwardly from the ceiling. He peers out at me -- his small, near-sighted eyes the blue of robin eggs -- from a long face whiskered in white, and he attempts the crooked grin I barely remember.

"I liked that ballet, you know," he says. Only he doesn't say ballet the usual way, baallay. He says the baal part like ball, as in basketball, the only sport he ever mentioned playing. I don't understand what he means at first, so I have to ask. Twice. He gestures at the graceful movements on the screen and explains that as a teenager he used to travel from Pelican Rapids, the small northern Minnesota town where he grew up, to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Where he saw "the ballet, you know."

I didn't know this. I have never heard this before. I can't even imagine this.

In my mind he is ten feet tall with a fist like a piston and a voice like Zeus. Perched on a pedestal of medical skill and military might, he commanded our family with high standards and harsh discipline. He went to war and returned a hero. But he declined to cheer our victories from high school bleachers, celebrate our report card As, or say I love you out loud. He reminded us often that we were just like everyone else -- he loathed pomp and pretense -- yet he stood alone and apart. He used force and fear to push us to be stronger, try harder, aim higher, to survive when someone else might not. Behind his back we call him Colonel Surgeon Father God.

He is my father, but I cannot hug him the way a daughter should. Not now, not the last time I saw him when I spent fewer than twenty-four hours at his house two years ago, and not since I was old enough to know what it means to hug your dad. When I try, he stands ramrod straight, his feet slightly turned out, his hands dangling from skinny arms held close to his sides, his jaw set. I can reach my arms around him, which in recent years I have mustered up the courage to try, but he is like a flagpole. Cold, hard, upright. A patriot, stilled.

-- Modified from the prologue of The War Came Home with Him

Profile of author from The War Came Home with Him promotional website.

Journalist Catherine Madison was editor-in-chief of Utne Reader, senior editor at Adweek and Creativity Magazine, founding editor of American Advertising, and editor-in-chief of Format Magazine. She has written articles for many publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Star Tribune, and Minnesota Monthly.


Korean War

Alexander Boysen's adventures in Korea frame the Korean War. The war -- originally a "conflict", and never a "total war", as the belligerents generally confined their military actions to the peninsula -- began on 25 June 1950 when the Democractic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) invaded the Republic of Korea (ROK). It ended when the two Korean states and their allies signed an armistice on 27 July 1953 at Panmunjom (板門店).

By 30 June 1950, the United States, at first reluctant to join what would otherwise have been a civil war, had decided to commmit U.S. ground forces to the defense of ROK (South Korea). The first units were grouped under what was called "Task Force Smith", named after Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Smith (1916-2004), the commander the groups main unit, the 1st Battalion of the 21st Regiment of the 24th Division of the 8th U.S. Army.

On 1 July, Boysen was flown with the 1st Battalion to Pusan (釜山) from Itazuke Air Base (板付基地) in Japan, DPRK (North Korea) forces were pushing south toward the city, which practically defines the southern tip of the peninsula.

Itazuke Air Base is now Fukuoka Airport (福岡空港). The port of Fukuoka has historically been main port serving shipping and ferry service between Japan and the Korean (Chosen) peninsula, and much of the ferry service plys between Fukuoka and Pusan, which are sister cities.

General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Occupied Japan, also oversaw all U.S. military forces in the theater. These forces included the 8th U.S. Army, which had come to Japan with MacArthur from the Philippines in August and September 1945.

After the 1st year of the Occupation, many U.S. military units began to be withdrawn, but 8th U.S. Army was left in Japan to serve as the main U.S. military force for the duration of the Occupation. Many of its original units were demobilized or redeployed elsewhere in preparation for ending the Occupation, and by 1948, when General Walton Walker (1889-1950) assumed command, it had been reduced to the 24th Infantry Division.

Only the 1st Battalion of the 21st Regiment of the 24th Infantry could be airlifted to Pusan for immediate deployment in Korea in on 1 July 1950. The rest of the units, which had to be ferried by boat arrived 3 days later. This was the unit Boysen was attached to in June 1950 when reporting for duty in Japan.


Boysen's experiences in POW camps

Boysen and other medical officers who became POWs in the Korean War shared their experiences in the following journal article.

Clarence L. Anderson, Alexander M. Boysen, Sidney Esensten, Gene N. Lam, William R. Shadish, (MC), U.S. Army
Medical Experience in Communist POW Camps in North Korea
J.A.M.A. (JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association)
Volume 156, Number 2, 11 September 1954, pages 120-122

Anderson was actually an MSC officer, according to the following account in Col. Richard V. N. [Van Ness] Ginn, History of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, Office of Medical History, U.S. Army Medical Department (Office off the Surgeon General and Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D.C., 2008).

Ginn 2006 History of Medical Service Corps
Col. Richard V. N. Ginn, 2006

Chapter 8

The United States Army Medical Service Corps


[ . . . ]

[ Pages 237-238]

In some cases medical units engaged in direct combat. In May 1951 a Chinese unit was bypassed by U.S. elements and stumbled into the hillside location where the 21st Medical Company of the 24th Infantry Division had set up for the night about three hundred yards from the regimental command post. The chance encounter turned into a general melee in which the lightly armed medical company killed twenty-three enemy soldiers and took fifty-eight prisoners. The medical company had one killed and ten wounded, and 1st Lt. John Atkins, MSC, received the Silver Star for his valor. In the same month, 1st Lt. William W. Cook, MSC, was killed in action when his 38th Regimental Combat Team battalion aid station was cut off by North Korean Army forces. In another case, Capt. Clarence L. Anderson, MSC, a battalion surgeon's assistant, along with his battalion surgeon, Capt. Alexander M. Boyson [sic = Boysen], MC, were captured at Chochiwon [鳥致院]. They spent three years in North Korean hands.17

Because of the Medical Corps shortages, MSCs filled administrative positions, such as command of medical battalions, that were designated as physician assignments. Consequently, when those units deployed to Korea, they remained under the command of their Medical Service Corps commanders. By 1951 Medical Service Corps officers commanded four of the six division medical battalions in Korea. The 24th Infantry Division reported in 1953 that its medical battalion was under MSC command nearly the entire year, and the arrangement was successful.18 When the 7th Medical Battalion redeployed to Korea from Japan, it did so under the command of Maj. Oren C. Atchley, MSC. His battalion covered the Inchon landing and then provided evacuation over a 230-mile route in temperatures as low as -24° F. In November an ambulance with five patients was lost. Major Atchley led a search party, which was ambushed; the survivors included one soldier whose feet were so severely frostbitten his toenails were dropping off. Atchley became separated from the group, was listed as missing in action, and later presumed killed.19


Lech on ordeals of Korean War POWs

Boysen and other captees released in September 1953 were evacuated to Japan, where they were treated and debriefed at the Tokyo Army Hospital, aka as the 8167th U.S. Army Hospital Tokyo, in Sumida ward. Some sources refer to "Interrogation of Returned Prisoner of War Alexander M. Boysen, folder, B2, box 1, Entry 183, Operation Big Switch Interrogation Reports, Record Group (RG) 153, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Army, National Archives at College Park, Md. (NACP)".

Operations Little Switch and Big Switch

"Operation Little Switch" refers to the exchange of sick and wounded POWs between 20 April and 3 May 1953 before the signing of the armistice. "Operation Big Switch" was the final exchange of POWs between 5 August and 23 December 1953.

The U.N.C. returned 75,823 POWs (70,183 Koreans, 5,640 Chinese); the Communists repatriated 12,773 U.N.C. POWs (7,862 Koreans, 3,597 Americans, 946 British). The vast majority of the 22,600 enemy non-repatriates were Chinese, most of them former Chinese Nationalist veterans. Only 137 Chinese agreed to return to their homeland before the expiration of the ninety-day period stipulated in the armistice agreement. Only 357 U.N.C. prisoners indicated a desire to remain with the Communists (333 Koreans, 23 Americans, one Briton), and of these, two Americans and eight Koreans chose to return within the allotted time for the changing of one's mind. The U.N.C. released all remaining former POWs thereafter, the Communists following suit a few days later. (See Operations Big and Little Switch, State of New Jersey, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.)

In Broken Soldiers (University of Illinois Press, 2000), Raymond B. Lech (b1941) writes that surrender during the Korean War was not uncommon, especially during the first nine months. "7,130 Americans laid down their arms rather than their lives" he ways, of whom some three thousand died in POW camps and "the remaining four thousand who returned home from Chinese camps along the Manchurian border bore emotional scars that would never heal" (Introdution, pages 1-2).

The insinuation that the "emotional scars" of none of the Korean War POW returnees would heal has overtones of the sweeping statements some people have made about all Vietnam veterans suffering PTSD for life. For certain it is not possible for a sentient being not to be influenced by war and POW-camp experiences. But the "scars" of such experiences generally represent healing. To the extent that memories persist and the scars of experience don't vanish, survivors may be "scarred" for life. However, "bearing scars" does not mean that wounds are not healed. For some the wounds may fester and never fully close. But most survivors seem to go on with life. And some even turn their ordeals into a livelihood.

Lech -- the author of All the Drowned Sailors (New York: Military Heritage Press, 1982, and many later editions), about "The cover-up of America's greatest wartime disaster at sea, the sinking of the Indianapolis with the loss of 880 lives because of the incompetence of admirals, officers, and gentlemen" -- examines the lives in captivity of numerous POWs who survived to tell their stories, some in court martials

Lech 2000 Why were only 14 tried as collaborators . . .
when so many others admitted similar offenses?
Boysen 1953 Tokyo Army Hospital (8167th USAH), 1953
"Capt. Alexander Boysen (left) and Capt. William Shandish at Tokyo Army Hospital exhibit surgical equipment used in the camps. Doctor Boysen shows a scalpel made from the arch of a combat boot, and Dr. Shandish a stethoscope cut out of a piece of wood. (National Archives SC436824)"
Copped from Lech 2000

Raymond B. Lech
Broken Soldiers
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000
xiii, 360 pages, photographs, line drawings

The never-before-revealed true story and final chapter of what really happened to American POWs in Korea, how they survived in the face of unimaginable brutality and "programming" and how so many came to be "broken soldiers."

Traversing the no-man's-land of political loyalty and betrayal, Broken Soldiers documents the fierce battle for the minds and hearts of American prisoners during the Korean War. In scorching detail, Raymond Lech describes the soldiers' day-to-day experiences in prisoner-of-war camps and the shocking treatment some of them received at the hands of their own countrymen after the war. Why, he asks, were only fourteen American soldiers tried as collaborators when thousands of others who admitted to some of the same offenses were not?

Drawing on some 60,000 pages of court-martial transcripts Lech secured through the Freedom of Information Act, Broken Soldiers documents the appalling treatment and the sophisticated propagandizing to which American POWs fell victim during the Korean conflict. Three thousand American soldiers perished in North Korean camps over the winter of 1950-51, most from starvation. Through the unsentimental testimony of survivors, Lech describes how these young men, filthy and lice-infested, lost an average of 40 percent of their body weight. Many also lost their powers of resistance and their grip on soldierly conduct.

After six months of starvation, the emaciated, disoriented prisoners were subjected to a relentless campaign to educate them to the virtues of communism. Bombarded with propaganda, the Americans were organized into study groups and forced to discuss and write about communism and Marxism, even to broadcast harangues against capitalist aggression and appeals for an end to the war.

Lech traces the spiral of debilitation and compromise, showing how parroting certain phrases came to seem a small price to pay for physical safety. Threatened with starvation and indefinite confinement in Korea, many POWs succumbed to pressure to mouth communist slogans and provide information far in excess of the regulation "name, rank, and service number."

Of the thousands of American soldiers who, while prisoners in North Korea, spoke and wrote favorably of communism and disparaged their country, a handful were charged with collaborating with the enemy. Why were so few singled out? Why did each branch of the armed services judge parallel circumstances differently, and why were American soldiers not realistically prepared for capture? A powerful indictment of justice miscarried, Broken Soldiers raises troubling questions that remain unanswered decades after the events.


Adams on medical units in Task Force Smith

The Office of Medical History, in the U.S. Army Medical Department, conducted interviews with a number of survivors of Task Force Smith. The following remarks are cited from notes which Samuel Milner, an historian in the Korea War project, took during an interview with then Lieutenant Colonel Raymond E. "Bodie" Adams, a Medical Service Corps officer in Task Force Smith, on 16 June and 22 July 1965.



[ Page 1]

Lt. Col. Adams reports that TF [Task Force] Smith had one of the three battalion medical platoons of the 21st Infantry Regiment's medical company. This force was commanded by Captain (now Lt. Col.) Edwin L. Overholt, MC, and was only a few men short of its TO/E [Table of Organization and Equipment]. 1st Lt. (now Lt. Col.) Adams, MSC, was the Assistant Battalion Surgeon under Capt. Overholt. Thus, TF Smith was supported by a medical unit normally utilized to back up an entire battalion with 1st echelon medical treatment, a ratio not excessive in view of the casualties the two companies of TF Smith might be expected to suffer in the initial combat action of the U.S. Army in the Korean War,* and that the rest of the regiment was on the way.

The medical platoon was alerted for an immediate air movement to Korea with the two reinforced rifle companies of TF Smith. They joined the infantry units at Itazuke Air Base [板付基地] on 1 July and were on the third of six C-54's used to airlift Lt. Col. Smith's command to Pusan.

Lt. Col. Adams asserted that the medical platoon was at a high state of readiness, and noted that the 21st Infantry Regiment's medical company had attained the highest score in all of Eighth Army during field exercises held in Japan during April or May of 1950.

* A battalion medical platoon in a regimental medical company had, according to the TO/E of 6 January 1948, which was in effect in June 1950, 2 commissioned officers and 35 enlisted men, including aid men, litter bearers, and technicians.

[ Page 2 omitted ]

[ Page 3 ]

The 24th Division had been in Korea as part of XXIV Corps until replacement by KMAG [Korean Military Advisory Group], after [which] the Division was redeployed to Japan.

When it went in TF Smith consisted of most of the 1st battalion, i.e., B & C Companies, 21st Infantry only. Company A later by sea with the 3d battalion. TF Smith was a calculated risk. It was believed that a show of force by the U.S. would serve to deter the North Koreans. We probably gained a day by the action at Osan [烏山]. It took only three days in all for the 24th Division in its entirety to get to Pusan.

The 21st Infantry had just completed an Eighth Army training test. The regiment received one of the highest ratings in Eighth Army as to its state of training.

The Division had three regiments: the 19th, located at Beppu; the 34th at Sasebo; and the 21st, stationed at Kumamoto. The regiments were organized with only two battalions, that is to say that, the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 21st were actually in being, but the 2d Battalion existed only on paper. The regiment had a medical platoon for each battalion. The other Regimental element was the collecting station which was part of the Regimental Medical Companies. The Medical Battalion, with its Clearing Company, Ambulance Company, etc., was a Divisional Unit. TF Smith had a few litter jeeps: 21st Infantry, several 2 ½-ton trucks.

There were perhaps 30 men in all in the Medical Platoon: 5 short of the TO/E. Had aidmen, litter bearers, aid station personnel, 3 or 4 litter jeeps and 2 officers: 1LT Raymond Adams, MSC, and Capt. Edwin Overholt, MC, in charge.

[ Pages 4-7 omitted ]

[ Page 8 ]

Had been unable to evacuate by air at Osan [烏山] action. There was no way to do so. These men volunteered to stay: Pfc Max Myers and Cpl Ernest "Frenchy" Fortuna. They volunteered when Col. Smith asked for volunteers. Were later both repatriated in Big Switch. It was Col. Smith's command decision that someone had to remain behind. You do not desert casualties, have to leave adequate medical personnel behind in such a case.

The first MASH hospital began moving forward on 6 July.

At Chochiwon [鳥致院, Col. Adams recalls an ambulance driver named Dube who did a terrific job. The 3d Battalion aid Station was at Chochiwon, also clearing and collecting stations were there.

Capt. [Alexander] Boysen, MC, and Capt [Douglas] Anderson, MSC, were captured on 8 July at Chochiwon. The 3d Battalion was clobbered there by the North Koreans. The Battalion was completely outnumbered and outgunned. Anderson died in captivity and Boysen was repatriated.

Everybody in TF Smith had dysentery but not bad. Were short of food and ate whatever they could scrounge.

[ End ]


Latham's overview of Korean War POW survivors

Part of Boysen's story is embedded in "Ordeal of the Survivors" by William C. Latham Jr. in the Spring 2010 issue of Military History (PB 20-10-2 (No. 75) Washington, D.C.).

Largely because of these miscalculations [by U.S. military officials regarding the readiness of U.S. forces in Japan and the ability of North Korean forces], early battles between Americans and North Koreans produced a disturbing series of calamities. Beginning with the destruction of a small U.S. task force (Task Force Smith) south of Seoul on 5 July, advancing North Korean forces, led by their hulking [Soviet] T34 tanks, brushed aside a series of U.S. defensive positions along the highway leading southeast from Seoul toward the port of Pusan. In their first three weeks of fighting, tthe Americans withdrew more than one hundred miles while losing several thousand killed, wounded, or missing in action. Many of the missing became prisoners of war, including a division commander, Maj. Gen. William F. Dean, who became separated from a small group of U.S. soldiers and survived behind enemy lines for five weeks before his capture.


Garrett on where the buck stops

The blame for the failure of Task Force Smith to accomplish its mission has been swatted back and forth across the net of accountability that divides the headquarters and units. Major John Garrett, in his study, Task Force Smith, the Lesson Never Learned, questions the conventional view that the task force failed because it was unprepared for combat. Garrett's conducted his study while training at the School of Advanced Military Studies, United States Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Second Term AY 1999/2000, 19 September 2000.

Garrett 2009 Garrett on where the buck stops

Task Force Smith
The Lesson Never Learned

A Monograph
Major John Garrett

School of Advanced Military Studies
United States Army Command and General Staff College
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Second Term AY 99-00

[ Pages 1-2 ]

1. Introduction

In 1989, General Gordon Sullivan, then the Army Chief of Staff, stated that the then ongoing drawdown of forces after the Cold War would not lead to another Task Force Smith.1 His reference was to the commonly held opinion that Task Force Smith, the first American ground unit engaged in the Korean War, was defeated because it was unprepared for war; and this un-preparedness was due in part to the rapid draw-down of forces after the Second World War that led to a hollow force.

General Sullivan was responding to a long history of reports on the unpreparedness of Task Force Smith and inadvertently was also perpetuating this version of the events. This monograph argues that Task Force Smith was not a failure because of its own admitted shortcomings, but rather it was a victim of a headquarters that knowingly assigned it an impossible mission. Task Force Smith failed because its mission was not achievable by any single infantry battalion. The problem rested with the senior leaders of the 24th Infantry Division, Eighth U.S. Army and higher headquarters who failed to provide the proper operational leadership, not with the soldiers serving in Japan or with the congress that funded it.

The United States Army in 1950 did have problems; it was not the army that had won the Second World War. The Army of 1950 was short of personnel and relied heavily on equipment made or designed for the Second World War. Yet while this equipment was not in great shape it was available, and by and large serviceable, though often worn and lacking in spare parts. In Japan the United States Army's problems of manpower and equipment was amplified by several other factors. The units had few large training areas and had limited training budgets. Medium tanks had played a small role in the Pacific War and in view of the fact that Japan had a limited number of bridges capable of withstanding their weight, they were withdrawn, consequently only the light M-24 Chaffee tanks were stationed in Japan. Training was certainly challenging because of the manpower shortages and other administrative problems. Yet, the fact remains that the officer corps and non-commissioned officer corps were generally well manned with experienced men, many ofwhom were combat veterans who knew how to train. Given this state of affairs did the Army do its best within these constraints? This monograph will establish that it did not.

This monograph begins by an examination of what happened to Task Force Smith and the rest of the 24th Infantry Division in June 1950. This inquiry will not obscure the fact that these units, A/52 Field Artillery Battalion, the 1/21st Infantry Regiment, and its headquarters the 24th Infantry Division had many shortcomings. It will however demonstrate that it was not these unit deficiencies that were the immediate cause of the failure. The commonly given reasons for failure will be examined, such as the unpreparedness of the unit for war due to occupation duties, manpower and equipment shortages, and the congressional failure to fund the Army adequately. Secondarily, the success or failure of leadership at the unit and division level to properly prepare the unit to be fit and ready for war will be determined.

[ Pages 2-40 omitted ]

[ Page 41 ]

8. Conclusion

In the case study of Task Force Smith, the truth has been hidden by a series of revisionist historians, such as Fehrenbach, with agendas to serve. There are no conspiracy theories here, and many of the historians generally believed that what they were reporting was the truth. They however have done an injustice to the men that served and their fellow soldiers who need to understand the reason's why.

Uncovering the truth is only the first step. Once the truth is clearly revealed, it must be examined to determine what can be learned. In the case of Task Force Smith and the 24th Infantry Division, the message that stands out is that soldiers cannot be employed without the intellect of the leaders being engaged beforehand. The army must learn that readiness of an army is more than equipment and manning, it is the readiness of the leadership to learn the military and operational art of the profession before the first shot is fired. Since, in the end, the arrows drawn on the maps in headquarters represent young men who will never become grandfathers, because the leaders were not ready for battle.

That is the lesson of Task Force Smith.


Malka Dr. Jeff Malka, 1968-1970
(Cropped from Malka, "War Surgeon"
4-page undated pdf file, page 4)
[ Personal communication ]
Malka Major Jeff Malka, 1968-1970
(Cropped from Malka, "War Surgeon"
4-page undated pdf file, page 4)
[ Personal communication ]
Malka Jeff Malka receiving 2012 IAJGS award
for his pioneering Sephardic genealogical studies
(Copped from International Association of
Jewish Genealogical Societies

Jeff Malka (1968-1970)

"just one of the thousands of faces"

In May 2016, I received communication from a familiar name -- Jeff Malka -- through the "Contact" page of my Yosha Bunko websites (email, 17 May 2016, [bracketed] remarks mine).

I think you had already left Japan before I got there. I was at the 106th from late 1968 to 1970 and overlapped for 3 months with Ray Bagg. I'm an orthopod [surgeon] too and we got along great with each other. (Not so much with the guy who replaced him). Boysen was the hospital CO during my time there. Too much of a regular army guy for me. None of the 2 year docs liked him and he was later drummed out of the army. When the Vietnam war started slowing down I spent a few months at Camp Zama. I also spent a few weeks at the 249th [249th General Hospital at North Camp Drake in Asaka city in Saitama prefecture] to allow someone there to go on leave.

Jeff said he had written "some stuff" for his grandchildren and attached a 4-page unpaginated pdf file of a very polished, readable, and moving story called "War Surgeon" -- with some photographs and a few footnotes -- clearly a chapter in an autobiography.

Jeff's wife, too, spent 2 years in Japan and he said they intended to visit Japan that fall, for the first time since being stationed there. Unfortunately, we did not meet at that time.

"You may be interested to know that I was not a US citizen when I was drafted," Jeff also wrote, as though he had noted my interest in nationality. "As such I could have refused to go but elected to accept because I definitely wanted to become a US citizen - which I later became in Hawaii." (Email, 17 May 2016).

Jeffrey S. Malka began his life in Switzerland. The passenger manifest dated 23 April 1957, for a Trans World Airlines flight originating from Zurich and bound for various destinations including New York, lists a "Malka S." Malka filed petition for naturaliztion in the U.S. District Court in Hawaii on 16 June 1969. (

Jeffry S. Malka, M.D., retired

On his own professional website,, Jeff declares that he is now retired, but he continues to post a brief biographical profile (last viewed June 2018).

Medical Degree- University of Geneva, Switzerland
Residency- Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City
Board Certification- American Board Of Orthopaedic Surgery
Other- Fellow of the American College of Surgeons,
   Fellow American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Interests- joint replacements, sports injuries and arthroscopic surgery
Faculty Appointment- Clinical Associate Professor, Georgetown University
Chairman Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Fairfax Hospital

The text of an "Office Brochure" includes the following reference to Jeff's work at the 106th General Hospital (last viewed June 2018).


Dr Malka is an Orthopaedic Surgeon. That means he is trained in the treatment, surgery and reconstruction of injuries and illnesses of bones, joints, muscles and the spine.

He graduated in 1963 first in his class in medical school at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr Malka trained in Orthopaedics at The Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York City. He did 2 additional years of Orthopaedic training (in addition to full residency) in the care of fractures and joint surgery. During the Vietnam War he was Assistant Chief of Orthopaedics at the 106 General Hospital, US Army, in Japan, where the more severely wounded were evacuated from Vietnam for their care. Over the years he has developed a special interest and expertise in:

• Arthroscopic Surgery, incl Laser
• Sports Injuries with special emphasis in Knee Injuries
• Joint Replacements and Reconstructions
• Pediatric Orthopaedics

Dr Malka is Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (1973), a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (1976), and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (1975) as well as an Associate Professor of Orthopaedics at Georgetown University Medical Center.

War Surgeon

"one of the thousands of faces"

Jeffry Malka, writing "some stuff" for his grand kids. so they will know a bit more about his chapter of the family history than they would find through the yellow pages, summarized his 2-years at the 106th in a 4-page chapter called simply "War Surgeon". The final paragraphs relate how Dr. Jeff Malka became the "Dr. Jeff Malke" in Tom Clancy's Into the Storm with General Fred Franks, Jr. -- who was a major when wounded in Vietnam and brought to Camp Zama for treatment (pdf file, received from Malka on 17 May 2016, [bracketed] remarks mine).

I spent most of my time in the operating rooms [at the 106th General Hospital from 1968-1970, and at Camp Zama in 1970]. It was not fancy surgery. By their very nature, war wounds are dirty and contaminated and need repeated visits to the OR for cleaning and removal of dead tissues. Life-saving amputations done in Vietnam needed revising and redebriding. Sometimes, on removing bandages in the operating room the wound would be filled with maggots from flies that had laid their eggs in the wound. Maggots are said to be good for wounds because they only eat dead tissues and therefore help clean the wound. I did not care. Masses of white maggots crawling in a wound was one thing I could not stand. Fortunately they washed away easily.

The faces and images [of my patients] blurred. Hundreds of young and some not so young faces. Officers were in a separate ward, B1 [at the 106th], not otherwise different from the others. In Tom Clancy's book "Into the Storm" he writes about General Freddie Franks, Jr. when he was a major in Vietnam. [Note 9] Towards the end of the war, Franks was injured. He asked several of his surgeons in Vietnam whether he might lose his leg and was repeatedly told he was not. At his last hospital in Nam he again asked his doctor in Lon Binh:

"Am I going to lose my foot?"
"Nah," he said. "Six months and you'll be up and around doing duty."
On 7 May, they flew him to Camp Zama Hospital [Note 10] in Japan. He was there for a week.
He asked a doctor at Zama, Dr Jeff Malke [sic], "Doc, am I going to lose my foot?"
"You don't want to hear this," Malke [sic] answered, "but six months from now, you're going to decide you'd be better off without that foot."
Dr. Malke [sic] was a wise man, but Fred Franks did not want to hear such wisdom just then.
He said to himself, The hell with that. he doesn't know what he's talking about. I'm going to beat this thing. I haven't met a hurdle yet I can't get over. [Note 11]

Six months later, at Valley Forge army hospital, after a discussion with the chief of orthopedics, he asked to have the leg removed below the knee. We only met briefly yet he remembered me. I did not. He was just one of the thousands of faces that came and went.

9 Clancy, Tom. Into the Storm: A Study in Command. Putnam, 1997. General Frederick Franks, Jr. commanded the armor and infantry (VII Corps), the main coalition force that broke the back of Iraq's Republican Guard during the Gulf war. He retired as a four-star general.

10 By then the war was winding down and I had been transferred to [the U.S. Army Hospital at Camp] Zama.

11 Clancy, Into the Storm, p.63-64.


General Frederick M. Franks, Jr.

Clancy's book with General Franks has been published in the following and other editions.

Tom Clancy with General Fred [Frederick M.] Franks, Jr. (Ret)
Into the Storm: A Study in Command [On the Ground in Iraq]
New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1997, hardcover, 551 pages
New York: Putnam, 1997, Book Club edition, hardcover, 551 pages
New York: Penguin Putman, 1998, xii, 562 pages
London: Sidgwick and Jackson Ltd, 2000, paperback, 531 [557] pages
London: PAN, 2001, paperback, 576 pages
New York: Penguin Putnam [Berkley Books], 2004, paperback, updated edition, 720 pages
New York: Berkley Trade, 2007, paperback, xi, 750 pages

Clancy 1997 1997 Putnam hardcover edition Clancy 1998 1998 Penguin paperback edition Clancy 2000 2000 Sidgwick and Jackson paperback edition
Clancy 2001 2001 Pan paperback edition Clancy 2004 2004 Berkley paperback, updated edition Clancy 2007 2007 Penguin paperback, updated edition


[ Page 63 ]

Thirty minutes after Franks was lifted out of Snoul, he was at the aid station at Quan Loi, near the 11th ACR base camp. The aid station was a triage area. They decided which of the wounded they could fix up there and which had to be medevaced back to Long Binh. Franks was clearly evacuation material.

When the doctor at Quan Loi looked him over, Franks asked him, "Am I going to lose my foot?"

"Nah,"he said. "You'll be OK. Don'nt worry about it."

They always underestimate combat wounds....

A medevac took him to the 93rd Evacuation Hospital at Long Binh. When he arrived, they rushed him into surgery. And during the next two days, he was in surgery again, more than once. How many operations he had then, he doesn'nt know. He was pretty much out of it during that time.

He asked a doctor at Long Binh: "Doc, am I going to lose my foot?"

"Nah," he said. Six months and you'll be up and around doing duty."

On 7 May, they flew him to Camp Zama Hospital in Japan. He was there for a week.

[ . . . ]

[ Page 64 ]

He asked a doctor at Zama, Dr. Jeff Malke, "Doc, am I going to lose my foot?"

"You don't want to hear this," Malke answered, "but six months from now, you're going to decide you'd be better off without that foot. But you're probably going to have to go through a battle to decide that yourself. You're not going to get around well on that leg. Major, that is just not a good-looking leg and foot."

Dr. Malke was a wise man, but Fred Franks did not want to hear such wisdom just then.

He said to himself, The hell with that. He doesn't know what he's talking about. I'm going to beat this thing. I haven't met a hurdle yet I can't get over.

It was not, in truth, a good-looking leg and foot. The entire ankle was shattered, dislocated. The bones of the ankle and foot were splintered or crushed, and part of the lower leg had serious damage.

The war was over for Franks. Little did he realize that his, and the Army's, biggest battles lay ahead.

FRED Franks tells what happened next.

[ . . . ]


[ . . . ]

[ Page 66 ]


Valley Forge General Hospital, just outside Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, is forty-five minutes by medevac helicopter from the hospital at Fort Dix, New Jersey. I had spent the night there after a long, C-141 medevac trip from Camp Zama hospital in Japan. It was the Army's policy to place long-term-care soldiers as close to home as possible, and Phoenixville was about an hour's drive for Denise each way, mostly on two-lane roads. On 18 May 1970, the helicopter landed on the asphalt Maltese Cross landing pad at Valley Forge.

Though it was great to be back in the U.S.A., I was beginning to grow concerned about my leg. Since Td been wounded on 5 May, I had undergone surgery in a string of hospitals. Each time, the doctors had been less and less optimistic.

[ . . . ]

[ Page 70 ]


"Doctor, I've made the choice. I want you to amputate my leg."

The surgery took place later in January, the morning after the Super Bowl. I watched the game from my bed in Ward 3B the night before. The morning of the surgery, just for the hell of it, with my cane, I struggled on the leg I was about to have amputated down the hall to the common latrine to shave. Then I came back and they wheeled me to surgery. I would not look back.

[ . . . ]


"every other step I take"

General Frederick Franks was the commander of VII Corps in Iraq. In a PBS Frontline oral history interview dated NLT 2014, Franks described VII Corps like this.

Q: What sort of forces did you have, I mean I don't know if there's a Second World War analogy or something, but what is a corps, what did you have in Corps?

Franks: We had in 7 Corps, we had 146,000 American and British soldiers, we had 5 divisions, essentially 5 armoured divisions, although one was a mechanised infantry division and one was a cavalry division, essentially 5 armoured divisions. We had close to 1600 tanks, American and British, a sizeable force, a lot of moving parts, we consumed well over 2 million gallons of fuel a day, we had a support command, vital logistics support command of over 26,000 soldiers, we had 15 hospitals, we had over 800 helicopters, a sizeable force, a lot of moving parts.

A later edition of Into the Storm was updated with some Iraq stories. In the PBS interview, Franks remarked about how memories of Vietnam affected his mission in Iraq (Ibid).

Q: Was there ever a day you didn't think about Vietnam when you were out there?

Franks: No .. constantly in my mind. Memories of Vietnam are very sharp, clear to me, I mean with every other step I take I'm reminded of Vietnam and I remember the great soldiers that I was privileged to serve with there, those that I was in the hospital with at Valley Forge General Hospital, I remember those whose names are on the Vietnam memorial here in Washington .. no, never .. never far from my mind and especially during the Gulf War, we didn't say it to each other but I think we all felt that we're going to do it right this time.


Malka Jeffrey S. Malka, Sephardic genealogy
2003 printing of 2002 1st edition
Malka Jeffrey S. Malka, Sephardic genealogy
2009 2nd edition

Sephardic genealogy

In addition to his career as an orthopedic surgeon, Jeffry S. Malka has distinuished himself as a pioneer in the field of Sephardic genealogy. He writes the history of his own family name, Some Malkas in History, on his own Sephardicgen website.

In the narrowest sense, "Sephardic Jews" refers to Jews who trace their descent to Jews who had settled on the Iberian Peninsula. Today, however, the term is commonly used to mean most Jews who are not Ashkenazic Jews, which broadly refers to Jews who settled and lived in Christian Europe (as opposed to Iberia). Malka's research and writing, and his reference book, are significant to Jewish genealogy because, unlike Ashkenazic family names, most of which were created in the 19th century, some Sephardic names go back the the 12th century.

Malka's award-winning Sephardic study

Jeffrey S. Malka
Sephardic Genealogy
(Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestors and Their World)
[Second Edition]
New Haven (CT): Avotaynu, July 2009 (2nd edition), 2002 (1st edition)
472, xxii pages, hardcover

Malka's book was awarded "Best Reference Book of the Year" for 2002 by the Association of Jewish Libraries. And in 2012, the Israel Genealogy Research Association honored Malka with that year's Lifetime Achievement Award.

The book is described and reviewed at Avotaynu, which publishes the journal Avotaynu, The International Review of Jewish Genealogy. Malka's profile reads in part like this (last viewed June 2018).

Descended from a long line of Sephardic rabbis, Dr. Malka's grandfather was chief rabbi of Sudan from 1906 to 1949. In researching his own family roots, Dr. Malka has accumulated unique expertise in the resources available to Sephardic genealogists. In Sephardic Genealogy: Discovering Your Sephardic Ancestry and Their World, he guides the reader through the history of the Sephardim, describes the origins and meanings of common Sephardic family names, and lists genealogical resources available in the many countries that Sephardic Jews inhabited.

Malka traces his own name to Malaga, an Aramean word for King (cited from Some Sephardic Names, Origins and meanings).

Name Variants Origin Meaning Notes
Malka ben Melekh, Soberano, Ibn Rey, Reino, Malki, Abimelekh Aramean King in Aramean, From Malaga

Malka gives all people interested in their own family names good adivce -- "Please do not write to ask about the meaning of your own name. . . . Be a detective. That is what makes genealogy fun!" (Ibid. and Amen!)

Malka's elaboration on the The Malka Family genealogy as of 1282 C.E. is a fascinating model of how to approach and understand the linguistic and political dynamics of family history.


Susan Geland Malka

Malka's wife, Susan Geland Malka, has been a practicing nurse, teacher, and scholar. Her 2007 book on the impact of "feminism" on nursing in the United States remains in print. The following description of the book is cited from University of Illinois Press publicity.

Melka Daring to Care

Susan Gelfand Malka
Daring to Care: American Nursing and Second-Wave Feminism
Champaign (IL): University of Illinois Press, 2007
240 pages, paper cover, cloth (unjacketed)
Plus photographs and line drawings

The role of feminism in transforming nursing and women's professional identity

Daring to Care examines the impact of second-wave feminism on the nursing field since the 1960s. In arguing that feminism helped to end nursing's subordination to medicine and provided nurses with greater autonomy and professional status, Susan Gelfand Malka discusses two distinct eras in nursing history. The first extended from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, when feminism seemed to belittle the occupation in its analysis of gender subordination but also fueled nursing leaders' drive for greater authority and independence. The second era began in the mid-1980s, when feminism grounded in the ethics of care appealed to a much broader group of caregivers and was incorporated into nursing education. While nurses accepted aspects of feminism, they did not necessarily identify as feminists; nonetheless, they used, passed on, and developed feminist ideas, which is evident in nursing school curricula changes and the increase in self-directed and specialized roles available to twenty-first-century expert caregivers.

"Former pediatric nurse Malka writes from the point of view of both a nurse and a historian, providing a rich perspective on the timely issues addressed in the book. Highly recommended." -- Choice

"A valuable addition to all levels of nursing and women's studies curricula. It makes the important connection between the evolution of nursing, and feminist thinking and activism." -- Women's Review of Books

"Daring to Care provides a fresh, valuable perspective on the history of women, feminism, nursing, medicine, and the professions; it should be required reading for anyone interested in the history of American nursing." -- The Journal of American History

"Malka's excellent scholarship fills a critical gap in recent history on the nursing profession, and will be useful to those interested in the history of feminism as well as women's, nursing, and medical history." -- Susan M. Reverby, professor of women's studies, Wellesley College, and author of Ordered to Care: The Dilemma of American Nursing

Susan Gelfand Malka is a former nurse and nursing instructor who teaches American and women's history at the University of Maryland.


Harold Rubin (1968-1970)

"I had to . . . buy a telephone pole"

Harold, according to his own account, was stationed at the 106th General Hospital from October 1968 until the hospital closed in 1970. The Officers section of the 1969 report on the 106h (above) states that he was a captain in the Medical Service Corps (MSC) and the Chief of the Pharmaceutical Services.

MSC officers are mainly utilized in their primary professional speciality. But they may also be required to serve on courts and boards, and pull scheduled duties like Administrative Officer of the Day (AOD) or Staff Duty Officer (SDO), among other duties. And Harold pulled his share of other duties in addition to his principle duty as a pharmacy officer.


On designated days, Harold was the AOD or Administrative Officer of the Day. This meant that he was in charge of hospital operations from 5pm to 8am -- in effect a night watch. I recall referring to any officer on call at night as the "DO" or Duty Officer. At the 106th, this included, in addition to an MSC acting as AOD, at least one doctor (MC). As I recall, the AOD was assisted by an NCO who I recall referring to as the "duty sergeant".

I have two recollections of duty officers. One was when my immediate MSC (medical service corps) supervisor, Lieutenant James Terry, was the DO one weekend and had to deal with an ambulance that ended upside down in the motor pool. I snapped a photo of the scene of the accident with Lieut. Terry looking on (see below).

The second DO I recall, whose name I have forgotten, was an MC (medical corps = MD) officer. I was the lab tech on call, and a request came for a stat cross match, which I would have to perform but the DO would have to visually confirm and approve (see Blood banking below).

AOD, CBR Officer, and court martial duties

As Harold related to me in email, AOD duties at the 106th entailed "meeting all incoming helicopters with patients, handling any deaths that occurred on shift, and intervening in any conflicts that occurred on base."

CBR Officer

Harold was also the CBR Officer. As such he was responsible for chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) decontamination at Kishine. team that to decontaminate the base. And he was the Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Professional Services, which described as "the highest ranking medical officer on base" and "usually a Colonel" -- meaning, when he was there, Alexander M. Boysen (see below).

Most intriguing to me was Harolds revelation that he also served as the Summary Court Martial Officer defense counsel. "[I] often had multiple soldiers to defend in a court martial setting," and parenthetically added "I have no legal training but that did not matter".

As a defendant in a summary court martial shortly before I began my lab tech training, I would add as a personal opinion that, at the summary court martial level, having legal training at the time probably didn't matter (today might be a different story). Having said this, though, I would like to have been a fly on the wall in the chambers of the 106th's disciplinary proceedings. I wonder what sort of offenses were involved. I felt like charging the mess hall chief with serving so much half-cooked liver.

Off-base housing

Harold, as a married officer, had a variety of housing, some "on the economy" meaning in an ordinary apartment in a Japanese neighborhood, to military housing -- in Harold's case (and the case of many Kishine personnel who were accompanied by dependants) homes in the U.S. Navy housing area in Honmoku in Negishi on the other (south) side of the port of Yokoahama . People had to wait for such housing, and the down side, as Harold wrote me, "I then had to drive thru the heart of the city to get too and from work."


Harold related to me the following story about his experience with living in a Japanese community (email, received 25 March 2016).

The first year in Yokohama I had housing on the economy. It was a year's wait for officer housing (my wife accompanied me for a 3 year tour). My address was 17 Shinohara-cho, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama-shi. It was an apartment complex close to Kishine. I had to have a telephone to be on call for the hospital. This caused me to buy a telephone pole, and once this happened all the apartments were able to have telephone service (I became very popular). One year later I was able to get housing at the US Navy housing area at the other side of Yokohama.

Telephones in Japan then and now

Harold Ruben is not exaggerating. At the time in Japan, many localities lacked the sort of telephone infrastructure that people today take forgranted. Neighbors in less wired neighborhoods used pink phones at shops which the shopkeeper used as a home phone that permitted others to make local calls for 10 yen or pay the shopkeeper for calls outside the exchange.

Even for those who lived in a wired neighborhood, subscribing to a landphone service was more than a matter of contacting the phone company and requesting that a phone be installed in return for a modest installation fee. NTT -- Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, a "public corporation" owned by the government, had an absolute monopoly on domestic telecommunications. If you wanted a phone, you litterally had to subsidize NTT by purchasing a bond that represented your share of the infrastructure that you would be using.

My first landline, in 1971, cost me about 70,000 yen, which was nearly twice 1 or 2 month's pay for an average office worker. between 70,000, which was the equivalent of two months pay. Telephone bonds were negotiable. They were bought and sold by authorized brokers. When I left Japan a year later, not knowing when or even if I would return, I sold mine for considerably less than I had paid for it. When returning in 1975, I had to buy another.

I bought my last such bond when moving in 1988. It was of the cheaper non-transferrable type. In the 1990s, NTT began to lose its grip on the market, and in 2000 I opted out of NTT for a packaged Internet-phone service with a TV cable company that had gained access to the phone market. Later I bought an old home in a neighborhood the cable company had not yet reached. The home was built in 1972 on land parcelled in 1969.

The home is set back from the main road by about 30 meters, which requires a small pole between the main street and my home to distribute power and phone lines to my home. At my previous residence, when NTT's monopoly was broken, and cable companies were allowed to offer phone services, I dumped NTT for a coaxial Internet and phone line. At the time I moved to my present home, the cable coimpany had not yet run cables into the neighborhood, but took advantage of my move to expand its service into my new neighborhood. that was in the year 2000, when few homes had cable TV, much less home computers or Internet hook-ups using phone modems.

Despite the nationalistic boasting about how "unchanged" Japan really is beneath the gloss of modernity -- believe me, its more than just gloss -- some things in the country have, in fact, remained the same. The 10-yen per 3-minute public phone call rate for numbers within the local exchange remains the same today, half a century after the days of the 106th at Kishine. The metered rate, however, is much higher, so 10-yen won't allow for many words.

Other costs have also increased. At the time the 106th General Hospital was operating, a domestic letter was 15 yen (82 yen), a domestic postcard was 7 yen (52 yen), and a weekly magazine was 70-80 yen (350-550 yen). Basic fares for trains and subways were 20-30 yen (140-180 yen, streetcars 15-20 yen (no more trollies). A 633ml bottle of beer was 140 yen (350 yen), a bowel of noodles was 100 yen (300 yen).

Consumer prices in Japan then and now
Service, commodity 1965-1971 (¥) 2010-2015 (¥)
Exchange rate (¥ / $) 360 80-120
Monthly salaries and part-time labor rates
Office clerk (per month)
Student labor (per hour)
Telephone and postal rates
Soba (noodles)
Ramen (noodles)
Coffee (coffee shop)
Beer (bottle, can)
Magazine (weekly)
Public bath (adult)
Haircut (male)
120 (633 ml btl)

200 (350 ml can)
Telephone and postal rates
Public phone (local call)
Postcard (domestic)
Postcard (North America)
Letter (domestic)
Letter (North America)
10 (3 min)

10 (1 min)
70 (air) 60 (sea)
110 (air) 90 (sea)
Public transportation (basic fares)
Taxi (2 kilometers)
[ Trolleys gone ]
A dream come true

Ed Todd captured the highlights of Rubin's career in Hospital CEO has followed his dreams, a long article in the Monday, 16 September 2002 edition of the Midland Reporter-Telegram. In it, Todd quotes Rubin to have said that his father had only an 8th-grade education, and that for him, going to college seemed "a better option" than becoming "the third generation of window washers" -- referring to his family's immigrant roots and experiences.

In the mid 1960s, after earning a B.S. in pharmacy at the University of Oklahoma, Rubin was a staff pharmacist at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Texas. While there, in 1967, he volunteered to be a "guinea pig" for students enrolled in a phsyical thereapy course at the University of Texas Medical Branch. The students drew their victims by lot, and the woman who drew him became his wife.

Rubin was drafted in 1968, received a direct commission as a pharmaceutical officer, was sent to the 106th General Hospital in Japan, and returned to civilian life in 1971. After receiving a Doctorate of Pharmacy from the College of Pharmacy of the University of Michigan in 1973, he worked at hospitals in Niagara Falls, New York, and in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1985, he and family settled in Midland, thus returning to Texas, and by 1991 he had become the president and chief executive officer of Midland Memorial Hospital. Rubin and his wife retired to Washington in 2002.

Rubin had dreamt of becoming a pharmacist. His grandmother had diabetes, and the cost of the drugs to keep her going was "always an issue" he reportedly told Todd.

"It's a calling," Todd cited Rubin to have said of medical work. "It's not just a job for people in the medical field, not just myself, but nurses and doctors. People that work in the hospital have care and concern about people that come into the hospital. They want to alleviate suffering."


Richard Sisk (1968)

"a cruel lie I told . . . everyone . . . even myself"

On 7 March 1968, 2nd Lieutenant Richard Sisk, was leading his platoon as point of Fox Company of the 2nd Battalion of 4th Regiment of the 3rd Marine Division moving west (upstream) along the Cua Viet river about 10 kilometers south of the DMZ. By that afternoon he was on a Med Evac helicopter to the rear, and 3 days later he found himself on Ward E-1 of the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama. The Navy hospital in Yokosuka was full, so Marine casualties were being sent to the 106th.

Sisk went on to become a journalist. Over a career that continues as I write this in the spring of 2021, he has reported and edited in the United States and overseas for the New York Daily News and United Press International. After retiring from mainstream journalism, during which he covered all manner of news, he has filed stories from the Pentagon for

Over half of the 498 officers who graduated in the fall of 1967 in Sisk's class of June 1967 at the Marine Corps' "The Basic School" in Quantico, Virginia, became causalities. 43 were killed in Vietnam, the first a week before Christmas. One was later killed in Lebanon and 6 died in training accidents.

Vietnam remembered: War of Lies: Scars are forever
Personal retrospect by New York Daily News writer Richard Sisk
23 April 1995 edition of Daily News, page 30
Clipped and resized from

Scurfield 2006


David Christian (1969)

From private to captain and medical retirement

David A. Christian (b1948), who had been treated at the 106th General Hospital in 1968 for napalm burns, was a Republican Party nominee for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania in 2012. He intended to run against the incumbent Democratic Party Senator Bob Casey, Jr., but lost in the primary to Tom Smith -- according to Wikipedia, which shows him with more medals than a Russian general.

The Wikipedia article goes on to say this about Christian's 4 year career, during which he went from private to captain before being medically retired after treatment for burns, which included a month stay at the 106th in January-February 1969.

Vietnam War

Christian enlisted in the United States Army in 1965 at age 17. After being rapidly promoted through the enlisted ranks to sergeant, he was admitted to the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School (OCS) and commissioned at 18 years old.[Note 8] Following Officer Candidate School, he completed U.S. Army Airborne School, (Parachute Jump School) and U.S. Army Special Forces ("Green Berets") training. [Note 8]

In 1968, he was sent to Vietnam. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism on October 29, 1968. In January 1969, Christian was critically burned by napalm in Vietnam and treated at hospitals there until February 20. He was then transferred to the 106 General Hospital (a division of Brooke Burn Center was established there) in Japan. [Note 8] He was promoted to captain (O-3) at age 20. [Note 8] He was medically retired from the Army at age 21. [Note 2]

  1. Walter H. Capps, The Unfinished War: Vietnam and the American Conscience, Beacon Press, 1990, page 4.
  2. Ron Avery, "Local Soldier may tie Audie Murphy's record", Bucks County Courier Times, 11 August 1969.


Joseph Hoepner (1969)

"I would have let go of life"

Drill Press features an article called "A Grunt Corpsman's Memories Of Vietnam" by Joseph Hoepner.

A Grunt Corpsman's Memories Of Vietnam

By Joseph Hoepner

These memories begin New Year's Eve, 31 December, 1968. I'd arrived in Vietnam earlier in the month, assigned as a hospital corpsman with the 3rd Platoon of Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. On the job less than a month, this day I would become senior corpsman with the platoon.

[ Account of being wounded and triaged for sending to Japan omitted here ]

The flight out of Nam was another non-memory. The only thing I recall is lying in the lowest cot, directly across from the nurses station, and that once airborne I had to pee. They gave me a plastic bag I filled to overflowing before falling asleep. I suppose I was drugged for the duration.

The C141 landed and they offloaded to a bus which transported us to an awaiting helicopter. Once loaded onto the helicopter, it was a short flight to the next facility. Once on the ward, I asked where I was; they informed me the 106th General Army Hospital in Japan. I couldn't figure out why a US Navy corpsman was in an Army facility. That, too, would be revealed later in my life.

I arrived on a Friday and as no surgeries were scheduled for the weekend, I endured at least three days of smelling the stench of rotting flesh from my dressings. I asked when they were going to change them and was told that I would have to wait until they scheduled the surgery. But at least I was no longer on IV's and ate a regular diet. My ward mates seemed worse off than I.

Bed one next to the nurses station was a triple amputee by the name of Tony Rango. Fate would reunite us later.

Bed two was another triple amputee, a guy with reddish hair from Rochester, Minnesota named Jim Suresly, though I am not positive about the spelling.

Bed three was a double amputee from Southern California. He had lost his right leg, right arm, and was blind in his right eye. We talked a lot but I cannot remember his name. He would later express a wish he couldn't fulfill that I would take care of for him.

Bed four was mine and remained mine during my entire stay.

I underwent two surgeries at the 106th. Being a converted Army barracks with wards detached from other areas, going to surgery meant riding in an ambulance to a remote building.

During the first surgery, doctors debrided my wounds and attempted to close some of them. They wanted to save my left knee, but there wasn't much tissue to cover the distal end of the stump. The placed me in traction for a couple days, then attempted closure. They put me back in traction for about a week to determine if the wound was closing.

To help keep the wound clean I was to have daily whirlpool therapy to the stump. For the first treatment they set me on a ledge dangling my stump into a deep tank of water. I can still feel the pain from that day. It hurt so damned much I cried. I vowed never to let them do the whirlpool that way again. After the treatment, they returned me to the ward and dressed my stump. I confronted the doctors and demanded that they find an excuse to put me in a tub-like tank where I could immerse my entire body.

Finally I had a win and got what I wanted. I was able to get clean for the first time since being wounded. It felt wonderful. I looked forward to that time and demanded getting there for my appointments. So adamant, in fact, that one day my escort was late so I figured I'd attempt it alone. I got into the wheelchair and with one hand attempted to get to therapy, which meant going to another building with ramps everywhere. I thought I could make it down the ramp exiting our building but I started rolling too fast, and in an attempt to slow myself managed to tip over the wheelchair and crash to the concrete. If not for an officer seeing me, I might have stayed there. He helped me into the wheelchair and pushed me back to the ward. I never tried that journey alone again.

I could get in and out of bed and to some extent navigate the ward on my own. After returning from therapy I would redress the end of my stump, as the Army medics were about as competent as orderlies in civilian hospitals. I would have a fellow patient hold a mirror so I could see what I was doing, and I did it one-handed because my left hand was splinted and useless.

My ability to get out of bed and into a wheelchair led me to accept a dare that astounded a few people. The Californian in the bed next to me, with his right leg and right arm missing and blind in his right eye, was attracted to a cute nurse on the ward. He remarked he would love to swat her ass. I told him I would do it for him. He didn't believe me but I was up to a little mischief and set a plan into motion.

I positioned my wheelchair in such a way that rolling it with one arm I could coast past her on her left side, allowing me to slap her butt with my right hand as I coasted by. I wanted it to occur in front of the guy's bed. My timing was great but just as I got past her, I felt a hand grab the neck of my pajama top, bringing my wheelchair to a quick halt. She'd caught me after the mission accomplished and wanted to know why I would pull such a stunt. I lied and said for the heck of it. The guy in bed three was laughing; he couldn't believe I'd done it and neither could I.

That incident got me closer to heading back to the states. I was informed I could make the one collect call we were allowed. A call to say I was coming home. I'll never forget that call. Using the only phone on the ward for such purposes, I placed the call via a Japanese international operator. My father answered and before he could say he would accept the charges I told him that I was going to be on my way to USNH Philadelphia. He asked where I was calling from and I responded Japan. His reply was short and very much like my father. "Hang up," he said, knowing how expensive it would be. I found out that the 3 minutes cost thirteen dollars, which my mother gladly paid.

I departed the 106th with mixed emotions: the Doctors had been great, the nurses wonderful and the food excellent. After I helped them with new admissions, one of the nurses told me that she would take one corpsman to five medics. I was still a corpsman.

I made the short helicopter ride from the 106th to Tachikawa AFB for an overnight in preparation for loading onto the C141 for the long flight to Philly. This time I would remain awake for the entire trip.

[ Account of return to States and further treatment omitted here ]

The rest of the story was yet to come. Had I foreseen all of the ups and downs at the moment of the explosion, I would have let go of life!

Semper Fi

© Joseph Hoepner 2007


Scurfield 2006 A Telegram from Uncle Sam to Tice's parents in California
"Address mail to him at the 106th General Hospital, Yokohama, Japan APO SF 96503"
Yosha Bunko scan from Scurfield, Healing Journeys, 2006, page 2006
Hansen_1992 Hansen et al., editors, Parallels, 1992
Yosha Bunko scan
Scurfield_2006 Scurfield, Healing Journeys, 2006
Yosha Bunko scan

Steven N. Tice (1969)

"My work is where my wound is"

Tice 1991 Steve N. Tice, "From Trauma to Enlightenment", 1991
Screen capture from The Post-Traumatic Gazette, 1996

Steven N. Tice became a cerified PTSD counsellor the hard way -- reluctantly submitting to the draft, fighting a war he didn't believe in, then losing a hand and sustaining multiple serious injuries to his face, chest, and abdomen when he was hit with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) during a battle on Hamburger Hill in Vietnam, while serving as the RTO (radiotelephone operator) of a 101st Airborne Division platoon leader who was later killed. Tice ended up in Letterman Hospital in San Francisco by way of the 106th General Hospital in Japan, where he had a heart attack and went into a comma.

In the course of Tice's physical recovery, his arm was amputated because of gangrene. In the course of his continuing mental and spiritual recovery, he has made it his mission to help other war veterans deal with their traumatic experiences, and to spread an uncompromising message for peace, condemning war generally and the Vietnam War in particular.

Tice finished college, went to graduate school, eventually became a trauma therapist, and in time ended up on the Presidential Committee on the Handicapped and the Committee on Disabled Vets. At the time he wrote "Healing" for Parallels (1992), he was the Assistant Director of the program (page 225).

Steve Tice
Pages 211-229 (Chapter 7) in:
J. T. Hansen, A. Susan Owen, Michael Patric Madden (editors)
(The Soldiers' Knowledge and the Oral History of Contemporary Warfare)
New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1992
xii, 251 pages, paper cover

Steve N. Tice
From Trauma to Enlightenment: The Survivor's Journey (1991)
The Post-Traumatic Gazette (Patience Press)
Volume 1, Number 5, 1996
8-page pdf file, pages 4-6

Tice digests his mission as follows ("From Trauma to Enlightenment", The Post-Traumatic Gazette, pages 5-6, [bracketed remarks] in original).

In May 1969, while serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, I took part in the battle for Hamburger Hill. I witnessed the deaths of close friends as well as participated in the killing of numerous enemy soldiers. Near the end of the battle, I was seriously wounded and evacuated from the war. I often thought about the war and spent many tumultuous years searching for meaning [in what] appeared to me to be senseless destruction. Twenty-two years later it continues to look like senseless destruction. Yet there is a critical difference. Today I utilize my knowledge of the pain of war to teach peace to society, while I access my experience in healing from trauma to assist others in their journey home. My work is exactly where my wound is.

Tice has written and co-authored a number of papers on trauma counselling, some with Raymong Scurfield, who draws heavily on Tice's experiences and work in his 2006 book, Healing Journeys. Especially relevant to the 106th General Hospital is Chapter 2 -- "Medical Evacuation from the Battlefield to Stateside: A Trail of Tribulation" -- which includes a transcription of the telegram that Department of the Army sent Tice's parents while he at the 106th (see scan above).

Raymond Monsour Scurfield
Healing Journeys
(Study Abroad with Vietnam Veterans)
[Volume 2 of A Vietnam Triology]
New York: Algora Publishing, 2006
xi, 221 pages, paper cover

Tice has made numerous presentations at venues across the United States, to veterans and general audiences. Publicty for a keynote address he delived at The Evergreen State College Veterans Day Commemoration on 11 November 2008 published this profile.

About Steven Tice

Steven Tice, MA, CTS received his Master of Arts degree in 20th Century US Social History from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1981, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education from UNLV in 1976. He has been certified as a trauma specialist through the international Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists since 1992. Steven is a Washington State Registered Counselor.

Tice was the subject of a 20 December 2017 feature story titled "Painful Memories: Steve Tice", by Dan Aznoff, in Sandpoint Living Local.


John Arbeeny (1969)

"Two distinct aspects for being"

The following comment by John Arbeeny, who was at the 106th General Hospital recuperating from wounds from November to December 1969, is the most interesting perception I have seen of a patient's awareness of the feelings of the doctors, nurses, and others who work with the wounded. The [bracketed (remarks)] are mine.

14 Nov 2006

[ Salutation omitted ]

Perhaps an epilogue to the story.

It definitely takes a certain kind of bravery to look death in the face and joke about it. Take it from someone who has been there. Lungs are easily singed, not necessarily by flame but by the superheated air caused by flame: one breath and the resulting damage is fatal. While recuperating from combat wounds at Kashina Barracks (Nov-Dec '69) I had numerous occasions to work on the wards, including "C" ward (a burn ward ... "crispy critter ward", as it was known), changing dressings and engaging my brothers in conversations. Many exhibited the same "laugh in the face of death" attitude [as Philippe Luc Las Hermes (see below)]. I came to realize however that this was not just bravado but revealed two distinct aspects for being.

First, was self preservation: that strong will to survive caused them to make light of their wounds as a way of overcoming them rather than being overwhelmed by them. Less obvious was their concern, often not otherwise expressed, for those who had to care for them.

Getting wounded is certainly traumatic for the individual. Just imagine, however, the "wounds" suffered by the doctors, nurses and others who have to deal with the never ending stream of broken bodies. For them there is no relief except psychological detachment. They suffer invisible wounds and scars of war and those physically wounded I think appreciate that.

"It only hurts when I laugh" helps take some of that load off these health care professionals. I remember President Reagan's joke upon entering the hospital and saying "I hope you all are Republicans" which broke the ice in a very serious situation. The lead doctor responded with something like, "Mr. President, we're all Republicans here." It was that concern for the incredible tension his doctors would have to face that the President appreciated and felt obliged to relieve. I think the same dynamic was at work with Philippe: facing the inevitable bravely while thinking about others to the very end.

Brother, may you rest in peace.

John Arbeeny
68th Infantry Detachment
52nd Aviation Battalion
Pleiku, RVN
Jan '68 - Mar '70

Arbeeny posted the above comment in response to a memorial to Philippe Luc Las Hermes (1946-1970) posted by Christopher Vock on The Virtual Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Philippe Luc LasHermes [sic]
Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
15 December 1946 - 14 February 1970
Annapolis, Maryland
Panel 13W Line 010

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial The Wall-USA database shows the following specs for Las Hermes.

WO - W1 - Army - Reserve
101st Airborne Division
Length of service 0 years
His tour began on Sep 2, 1969
Casualty was on Feb 14, 1970
Hostile, died of wounds, HELICOPTER - CREW
Body was recovered
Panel 13W - Line 10

Warrant Officer Las Hermes was a citizen of France. He came to the United States in 1968 and enlisted in the U.S. Army's Warrant Officer pilot program, and his tour in Vietnam began on 2 September 1969. Christopher Vock, who posted the memorial on The Virtual Wall, knew Las Hermes in France and was living in Switzerland when he posted the memorial. Vock remarks that, while Las Hermes was in Vietnam, he reportedly received a draft notice from the French Army, to which he replied as follows.

"What are they going to do to me if I don't show up,
send me to Viet Nam?"

Had Las Hermes been born in the early 1930s instead of in 1946, he could well have been sent to Vietnam, and died there with many other French soldiers in battles like those at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. That he would die 16 years later fighting the next generation of the same army that had defeated attempts by France to restore its colonial control over a country following World War II is more than ironic. His father, Maurice Las Hermes, not only fought in World War I, but was also at Dien Bien Phu.

All this speaks to the historical background of America's involvement in Vietnam, which should not have been it's business -- except for the wrong political cards the Allied Powers played in Southeast Asia after World War II, and especially after the United States made the mistake of stepping into the breech vacated by France after 1954 on the pretext of needing to support the non-communist south against the communist north. See Vietnam and Japan (below) for an overview of the role Japan played in the origins of the Vietnamese forces that defeated France and then the United States.

Chuck Davis on Philippe Luc Las Hermes

The following comment was posted to Christopher Vock's memorial to Philippe Luc Las Hermes on The Virtual Wall by Chuck Davis, who crossed paths with Las Hermes on the U.S. Navy hospital ship USS Repose.

I remember Philippe. I was paged by doctors in pre-op to get medical photographs of his back, because there was some disagreement among the doctors as to the severity of Philippe's burns. When I made the photographs he was happy to have survived the crash, and he was grinning over his left shoulder at the camera. He was making jokes with the hospital staff, but the main doctor in charge told me later that the burns would look worse within a few days, and he feared that Philippe's lungs were damaged by the flames.

The burns looked to me like maybe bad second degree when Philippe arrived on board. About 10 days later the doctor called and asked me to come to ICU. Philippe was on his stomach and sedated. I documented the extensive tissue damage that had appeared over the days since his arrival, and the doctor told me that Philippe's lungs were so badly burned that he could not survive much longer.

I shot a lot of medical images during my year aboard Repose, and I will tell you that I remember Philippe more clearly than any other patient, because of his jokes and bravery in the face of danger.

Chuck Davis

USS Repose

The USS Repose (AH-16) was part of the evacuation route for a number of patients that made their way from Vietnam to Kishine Barracks.

The USS Repose served in the final months of the Pacific War and in East Asia for 5 years after the war. No sooner than it was decommissioned, the Korean War began and it was reactivated for the duration of the war. Again it was decommissioned, and 11 years later it was recommissioned for service in the Vietnam War. It's stationing in Vietnam corresponded very closely with the stationing of the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama.

Keel laid 22 October 1943 as SS Marine Beaver, a cargo ship
Launched 8 August 1944
Commissioned 26 May 1945 as USS Repose after conversion to hospital ship
Departed for Pacific 8 July 1945 for service as casualty transport
After war served mainly as base hospital in Chinese ports
Decommissioned 19 January 1950
Activated 26 August 1950 and deployed in Korean waters
Sometimes also evacuated wounded to Japanese ports
Helicopter pad installed from February to March 1953
Transferred to Naval Reserve Fleet 27 September 1954
Decommissioned 21 December 1954
Recommissioned 16 October 1965
Arrived in Vietnam 3 January 1966
Nicknamed "Angel of the Orient"
Departed Vietnam 14 March 1970
Decommissioned May 1970

Briefly served as hospital annex at Long Beach
Sold for scrap 1975

5 other cargo ships of the came class were also converted to hospital ships -- USS Tranquility (AH 14), USS Haven (AH 12), USS Benevolence (AH 13), USS Sanctuary (AH 17), and USS Consolation (AH 15). All had a capacity of roughtly 750 beds and a complement of roughly 550. The USS Repose is said to have admitted 24,000 patients, including 9,000 battle casualties. Some of its patients were Vietnamese, including including children, who were war casualities.


William Wetherall (1965-1966, 2016)

"What war, what barracks, what hospital?"

A story about Kishine Barracks would not be complete without my own eyewitness account of its vestiges today. The following story is based on my first visit to Kishine in half a century to the year after I left the 106th in 1966.

Bill Wetherall Bill Wetherall on bench near officers club
looking toward headquarters building

2 April 2016 photo by Hershel Peppers
Hershel Peppers Hershel Peppers on bench near officers club
looking away from movie theater

2 April 2016 photo by Bill Wetherall
Cherry blossoms Looking from heights near chapel toward barracks and wards
2 April 2016 photo by Bill Wetherall
Merengue card Kishine branch of Merengue Hawaiian in Shinohara
Yosha Bunko scan of card obtained 2 April 2016

港北区篠原町1123   Kishine Kōen station and
                    Hawaiian Cafe Merengue retaurant
港北区岸根町725    Budōkan 武道館
港北区岸根町725-1  Kishine Kōen 岸根公園

Kishine today: Life goes on with no memory of the past

As much as I have thought about Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital during the nearly 45 years I've lived in Japan, I never got around to visiting Kishine Park and the neighborhood until 2 April 2016.

When beginning work on this web page in the fall of 2015, I decided it was time to go, and planned to go sometime the following spring. I wanted to go when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, which would be in late March or early April. The winter proved to be unusually warm, so the first wave of blossoms would probably come in late March.

By mid March, weather reporters were forecasting the movement of the "cherry front-line" (sakura zensen 桜前線) from the warmer southwestern prefectures to the colder northeastern prefectures. People who looked forward to picnicking with their families, colleagues, classmates or friends, began to planning their weekends, and strategies and tactics for getting the best spots.

Then Hershel Peppers, a friend I hadn't seen for a few years, called me on my birthday, as he sometimes does. We agreed we ought to get together, and since he was teaching at a private grade school, this meant a weekend. And he suggested the next Saturday, which was 2 April, about a week off.

A couple of days later, I proposed going to Kishine Park, which is in Yokohama, where he lives. Yokohama is a big place, so I wondered if he had heard of it, and apparently he hadn't. I told him it had once been home to a U.S. Army hospital, and that I had been stationed there during the Vietnam War, which intrigued him, as he was born when the war was winding down, and it was practically ancient history -- and mostly a theme for Hollywood movies -- by the time he was old enough to study the past in school.

We met at 10:30 at the South Exit of JR Yokohama station, which took me 2 hours but Hershel only 30 minutes to reach. We made our way to the Yokohama stop on the Blue Line subway, which involves a heavily signed 5-minute walk through short intercourses and up but mostly down stairs and escalators to the bowels of the subway. A 10-minute ride involving stops at 3 intermediate stations brought us to Kishine Park station, and a choice of stairs or escalators brought us up to the street exit by Shinohara Pond.

"So what's left of the base?" Hershel said. "Some of the buildings?"

"Nothing," I said, "except the baseball diamond. From pictures I've seen, I get the impression that some of the features of the terrain remain, and maybe a few of the trees around the perimeter survived."

I explained that Shinohara Pond is a vestige of a semi-natural reservoir for the rice paddies that used to be in the shallow valley through which the road along the eastern boundary of Kishine-chō and the park now runs.

"The ponds wasn't part of Kishine Barracks," I said. "The property occupied by the U.S. Army base began where the land rises on the other side of the pond," I added, tracing the limits of Kishine Barracks on the map of the park on display between the station and the pond.

"That's the Budōkan?!" Hershel said as he looked toward the buildings on the other side of the pond.

"Yeah," I said, not knowing what to make of the inflection of his voice. He didn't seem to be merely confirming the name of the most conspicuous building on the map.

"You've heard of it?"

"I've been there," he said. "For a couple for tournaments."

Hershel was a judoist but I didn't know he competed, and certainly not at Kishine.

"That's amazing."

"Is it part of the park?"

"Yeah," I said, "in the sense that its access paths are integrated with the park. But the park's municipal and the Budōkan's prefectural. And that's all I know about it."

"Was there a dōjō on the base?" he said as we walked by the largest building. Its imposing concrete facade evokes the elegant features of an ancient hall. It looked even more striking than in picture.

"No. The Budōkan moved here from another location in the 1980s. But the dojō and other buildings, and the garden and approaches, sit on land that was occupied by the sewage plant, ammunition bunker, and supply."

Hershel qualifies as a minor celebrity. He would deny this but I bear witness. He has appeared in a couple of movies and TV commercials. More importantly, he is active as a judoist and wall climber, and has a remarkable following of students and friends.

That day, at Yokohama station, Hershel crossed paths with a former student. And in Kishine Park, he ran into a couple he had met at a wall climbing gym -- or rather they ran into us. To the many people who were at Kishine that beautiful spring day, Hershel and I were as conspicuous as the blossoms.

Hershel's friends were one of many couples, families, and individuals out for a day in the park. I asked them if they knew what the park had been before it was a park. They didn't. They were surprised to hear that it had once been home to Japanese and American military facilities, that 50 years ago I myself had been stationed at a hospital that had been set up to treat wounded and sick soldiers during the Vietnam War.

The Wikipedia article on the park now includes a very general but incomplete and misleading account of the park's history, but most public descriptions of the park do not mention its Japanese Imperial Army, Japanese Ground Defense Forces, and U.S. Army history, and visitors will find no notifications of its military history in the park.

After walking through the park and taking several pictures, Hershel and I queued up at the very busy family restaurant by the station and 30 minutes later got a table. Any day other than on a weekend when the blossoms are in full bloom, or there is a major event at the Budōkan, there probably would not have been a line, as the restaurant has a fairly large capacity, and like most such eateries that front streets with lots of thru-traffic it wants to be able to seat and serve walk-in trade promptly.

The 30-minute wait passed quickly and it was good to finally sit after a couple of hours on our feet. The menu offerings met the expectations of our appetites. And while eating we talked about family history, as Hershel's dad and I shared a common passion for tracing our respective roots through family records and genealogical websites.

Revisiting Kishine half a century after I left the 106th General Hospital, still expanding to accommodate the growing number of casualties from battlefields in Vietnam, and finding today such peace and beauty, undisturbed by sights of mangled bodies and blood and cries of pain, ranks high among the many memoriable things I've done in my life.


Harvey 2018

51-year reunion
Bill Harvey (right) and Bill Wetherall (left)
1 October 2018, Tokyu Stay Hotel, Yotsuya
Photograph by Myrna Harvey

William Harvey (1965-1967, 2018)

A not uneventful double reunion

I hadn't heard from Bill Harvey (see above) for more than two decades when he contacted me through the form mail on my website on 4 August 2018. Bill had been an x-ray tech at the 106th General Hospital and we had been good friends on and off duty.

Bill musted out in the fall of 1967 at the U.S. Army Personnel Center in Oakland. I picked him up there in my mother's Volkswagen and he spent a couple of nights at my parents place in Grass Valley before flying out of Reno to his home in Wisconsin. He went to medical school and became a diagnostic radiologist.

Bill had just recently discovered this Kishine Barracks page. He and his wife, a nurse, had retired and were planning a trip to Japan. The trip would partly celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, which passed just 2 weeks after he wrote.

Bill hoped to be able to see me during their trip and, if possible, swing by the site of our 106th General Hospital haunts at Kishine Barracks. He would be coming with a group but would have a couple of free days in Tokyo.

1 October 2018

Bill and Myrna arrived in Tokyo on the last day of September, during a typhoon that struck with a vengeance that night. They were secure in their hotel near Yotsuya station in the heart of the city, from which it was easy to go anywhere, including Yokohama.

I planned to meet them around 9 the following morning in the 3rd floor lobby of their hotel, a few minutes walk from the station. I left my home around 7:00, which would me get me to Yotsuya as early as 8:30 if the single transfer went quickly. The transfer went quickly, but the ride as far as the transfer took twice as long. Fewer trains were running, and those that were running were backed up and over crowded on account of delays caused by storm damage.

My trip was further hindered by the need to get off the train midway after fainting twice. When standing in warm spaces for long periods of time, my blood pressure drops. I usually feel light headed and take measures to increase circulation and pressure. But that morning I slumped to the floor immediately after feeling a flush. And shortly after standing, with the help of other passengers, I slumped again. We were pulling into a station, and I was helped to the door and passed me off to a platform hand who was overseeing detraining and boarding.

5 minutes later I was feeling much better and queued up to board a train. 2 or 3 trains passed before I got close enough to the front of the line to squeeze into a car.

I arrived at the transfer station without event and called the hotel. The front desk put me through to Bill's room but no one picked up. I persuaded the clerk to page Bill as he was probably in the lobby waiting for me. I told him I'd be half an hour late and that's how long it took me to finally step into the lobby and spot him.


51 years is not a long time, yet it's long enough for two young men to grow old. We assured each other that we both looked good, and Myrna agreed.

They were ready to go so we promptly headed for Yotsuya station along Shinjuku-dori. The street was lined with trees, and already men were at work clearing the side walks and gutters of limbs and leaves. Bill and Myrna had heard the howling of the wind as it buffeted the window of their room on the 10th floor.

We stopped by a convenience store between the hotel and the station so Bill and Myrna could get some bottled water. Bill insisted on paying -- the thrill of the first time to buy something in Japan since he had left 51 years ago when the exchange rate was fixed at 360 yen to 1 US dollar.

We trained from Yotsuya to Tokyo, where the main line schedules to Yokohama were also seriously delayed and irregular. We finally got a train, quickly got seats, and the ride to Yokohama was fairly quick. We took the subway to Kishine -- the 2nd time for me in 2 years, the first time for Bill, who remembers only walking, bussing, or biking. Myrna had never been to Japan, so everything was new to her.

We ate lunch at the Merengue where I'd lunched with Hershel Peppers my first time back in 2016 (see above). Then we made our way around to the entrance to Kishine Kōen where the main gate had been.

We sat on the benches inside the entrance. Bill, studying the print I had made of the Kishine Barracks and the 106th General Hospital, took in the expansive plaza in front of the benches and tried to envision how things had changed.

I pointed out that the park flag pole was about where the flag poles had been in front of the headquarters building. The parking sat on the site of the gym and theater just inside the entrance. The baseball field hadn't changed much.

Another event

I was about to take a picture of Bill and Myrna on the bench, before we started to walk around the park, when Bill said something Myrna understood as meaning he was about to faint -- and he did. Myrna made him comfortable, and he stirred but remained on his back. We talked about getting an ambulance. Bill said he thought he'd be okay but felt he shouldn't walk around the park, much less attempt the more strenuous trip back to the hotel by subway and train. A taxi was in order, but getting one was another problem.

The administrative office was open, and I went there to make queries. The woman came out to see Bill and Myrna and confirm that they wanted a taxi rather than an ambulance. I explained that Bill was a doctor and Myrna was a nurse. I also told her that Bill and I had been stationed at the hospital that had been at Kishine Barracks.

The woman called a taxi, then showed us an album with clear plastic sleeves of materials the office had collected on Kishine Barracks. The album included photographs and correspondence from park visitors who had been at Kishine Barracks.

The taxi came and the driver was appraised of the need to take us to the hotel in Tokyo and the chance that Bill might need medical assistance en route.

The ride back to Tokyo was a novelty for all of us. As long as I've been in Japan, I've rarely seen the country from highways. The driver, it turned out, had recently lived in the United States, as a student in Colorado, and was happy to identify buildings and other developments -- as far as recognized them. He didn't get that many fares out of Yokohama, and some stretches of the GPS navigator-guided route was new to him as well.

Back at the hotel, we realized that, in all the commotion, we hadn't taken a single photograph. So we found a garden-like enclave in the lobby and Myrna snapped the picture shown here.

Bill and I had not met since 1967. What are the odds that we should both experience syncope events on the day of our reunion 51 years later? Since then, we've both managed to live with our respective heart conditions and count our blessings.


Other stories

Here I have collected a several anecdotes, some short, some long, that illustrate the sheer variety of life and death experiences at the 106th General Hospital and Kishine, or at other medical facilitis in Japan during the Vietnam War -- and issues that have involved some 106th personnel decades later.


PTSD appellants

The Veterans Administration enables veterans to apply for recognition of conditions or disabilities on the basis of claims of service-connected physical or mental injuries that have chronic or permanent effects. The following

Case 9508671

Claim 1: PTSD from medevac work at 106th General Hospital

Claim 2: Ringworm deserves more than 10 percent disability

Board rules against both claims

The following excerts represent only a fraction of very long ruling. See full VA report at

DOCKET NO. 91-36 530

[ . . . ]

On appeal from the
Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in No. Little Rock, Arkansas


  1. Entitlement to service connection for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  2. Entitlement to an evaluation in excess of 10 percent for residuals of a service-connected skin disorder, characterized as tinea corporis.


Appellant represented by: Disabled American Veterans


The appellant


Stephen F. Sylvester, Counsel


The veteran had active duty for training from February to August 1962, and additional active military service from January 1963 to May 1968.

This appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) originally arose from a November 1990 rating decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in St. Louis, Missouri. Since the time of that decision, the veteran has changed his residence, with the result that this appeal now comes to the Board from the Little Rock, Arkansas, RO.

A review of the record discloses that, in February 1990, the Board denied entitlement to service connection for post-traumatic stress disorder. As of the time of the Board's February 1990 decision, the veteran had been shown to exhibit a depressive neurosis, but not a post-traumatic stress disorder. Since the time of that decision, the veteran has submitted additional evidence in an attempt to reopen his claim. That evidence shows varying psychiatric diagnoses, including post-traumatic stress disorder. The RO, apparently considering such evidence to be both new and material, has chosen to adjudicate the veteran's current claim on a de novo basis. The Board is in agreement with this determination and, accordingly, will likewise adjudicate the veteran's current claim as one of first impression.

In June 1992 and June 1993, the veteran's case was remanded to the RO for additional development. Such development having been completed, the case is now, once more, before the Board for further review.


The veteran's argument is that the RO committed error in denying entitlement to service connection for post-traumatic stress disorder, in that such disorder is due to his period or periods of active military service. Specifically, it is alleged that, during that period of the veteran's service when he was assigned to the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama, Japan, he was exposed to numerous stressful incidents, with the result that he currently suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder. It is alleged that, during the aforementioned period, the veteran assisted in the transportation and treatment of numerous casualties from the Republic of Vietnam, many of whom were seriously wounded and/or burned. He further alleges that more than a few of these casualties died in his presence. He contends that he served in the "med evac-unit" at the hospital. As to the veteran's service-connected tinea corporis, it is alleged that the various manifestations of that skin disorder are more severe than currently evaluated, and productive of a greater degree of impairment than is reflected by the 10 percent schedular evaluation presently assigned. It is asserted that, as a result of the veteran's service-connected tinea corporis, he experiences a constant itching. It is further alleged that the veteran must avoid the sun, inasmuch as sweating causes his back to "break out into sores which crust over." According to the veteran, lesions attributable to his service-connected skin disorder have, at times, spread to both his groin and buttocks. He further notes that he currently receives medication for his service-connected skin disorder. As to the veteran's service-connected tinea corporis, it is requested that the provisions of 38 C.F.R. § 4.7 (1994) be applied.


The Board, in accordance with the provisions of 38 U.S.C.A. § 7104 (West 1991), has reviewed and considered all of the evidence and material of record in the veteran's claims files. Based on its review of the relevant evidence in this matter, and for the following reasons and bases, it is the decision of the Board that a preponderance of the evidence is against the claims for service connection for post-traumatic stress disorder, and for an increased evaluation for service-connected tinea corporis.


  1. All relevant evidence necessary to an equitable disposition of the veteran's appeal has been obtained by the RO.
  2. The record does not show that the veteran engaged in combat with the enemy, nor is it otherwise alleged. Several attempts by the RO to obtain supportive evidence that the claimed inservice stressors actually occurred have been unsuccessful.
  3. The evidentiary record does not support a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder that is related to the veteran's period of service.
  4. The veteran's service-connected tinea corporis is currently productive of not more than exfoliation, exudation, or itching, and involvement of an exposed surface or extensive area.


[ . . . ]


[ . . . ]

I. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

[ . . . ]

Since the time of the veteran's hospitalization in October 1990, he has on various other occasions received a diagnosis of post- traumatic stress disorder. What is absent in this case is objective or supporting evidence of the veteran's alleged inservice traumatic stressors.

In that regard, the Board notes that, as per the aforementioned discussion, the veteran's documented military occupational specialities were those of cook and food inspection specialist. According to the veteran, it was during his service as a cook in Japan that he witnessed the burned and wounded casualties from Vietnam which precipitated his post-traumatic stress disorder. The veteran does not claim to have engaged in combat with the enemy, nor does he allege the existence of a combat-related stressor. Rather, his claimed stressor or stressors consist solely of the aforementioned exposure to combat casualties, his working as a "medic," caring for the wounded and burn victims, and transporting them. The medical evidence of record also shows that the veteran has claimed that he assisted doctors, that he took bodies to the morgue, and that he was assigned to the bedside of terminally ill patients.

As noted above, where a claimed stressor is not combat related, the veteran's lay testimony regarding that stressor is insufficient to establish its occurrence, absent corroboration by "credible supporting evidence." In the case at hand, no such evidence exists. Exhaustive attempts at development, both by the RO and the Board, have failed to document that the veteran served as other than a cook during his period of service in Japan. In a statement of November 1993, the United States Army and Joint Services Environmental Support Group stated that it was unable to document that the veteran had served as a medical attendant. Rather, the only verifiable information was to the effect that the veteran served as a cook assigned to the 106th General Hospital. At present, there exists no supportive evidence that the veteran was exposed to such traumatic incidents as might constitute a recognizable stressor or stressors for purposes of a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Although the notation in the veteran's personnel records that he was assigned duty in the transportation section of the hospital is credible supporting evidence of his contention that he was assigned duty other than duty as a cook, this evidence is much too vague and imprecise to be considered credible supporting evidence that the claimed array of varied stressors actually, or in fact, occurred. The medical evidence shows that the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder has been based primarily on the veteran's reports that he served as a "medic," assisted physicians in treating burn patients, and of men dying in his arms, experiences that one examining physician, who diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, described as "catastrophic." Duty in a transportation section provides no support for the claim that stressors such as these actually occurred.

[ . . . ]

II. Tinea Corporis

Tinea corporis is a variety of dermatophytosis, more commonly known as "ringworm" though it is actually an infection of the skin caused by various fungi.

[ . . . ]

The Board observes that the veteran's service-connected tinea corporis is rated as analogous to eczema. Such is the most appropriate analogy, based on the closeness of the symptoms and the anatomical localization. 38 C.F.R. § 4.20. As such, the 10 percent evaluation currently in effect contemplates the presence of a skin disorder characterized by exfoliation, exudation, or itching, and involvement of an exposed surface or extensive area. A 30 percent evaluation would require documented evidence of constant exudation or itching, extensive lesions, or marked disfigurement. 38 C.F.R. Part 4, Code 7806 (1994). The Board acknowledges that, at the time of the veteran's most recent VA dermatologic examination, there were present diffuse papules involving the veteran's buttocks and approximately 70 percent of his back. However, as noted above, the veteran has, on various prior occasions, experienced problems not only with the skin of his back and buttocks, but with his hands, feet, thighs, and groin. Based upon current evidence, the evidence shows that the veteran's service-connected tinea corporis is not currently productive of constant exudation or itching, extensive lesions, or marked disfigurement. As such, the 10 percent evaluation currently in effect is appropriate. As it is not shown that the current manifestations of the veteran's service-connected skin disorder more nearly approximate the criteria for a 30 percent evaluation than a 10 percent one, the criteria of 38 C.F.R. § 4.7 (1994) are not for application. Consequently, we are unable to reach a favorable decision in this matter.

[ . . . ]


Service connection for post-traumatic stress disorder is denied.

An increased evaluation for service-connected tinea corporis is denied.

Member, Board of Veterans' Appeals

[ . . . ]


Case 0939367

Claim 1: PTSD from work with patients at 106th General Hospital

Claim 2: Residuals of fractures in hand deserve more than 10 percent disability

Claim 3: Various ringworm infections deserve more than 10 percent disability

Board rules against all three claims

The following excerts represent only a fraction of very long ruling. See full VA report at

Citation Nr: 0939367
Decision Date: 10/16/09   Archive Date: 10/28/09

DOCKET NO. 05-11 448

[ . . . ]

On appeal from the
Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Boston, Massachusetts


  1. Entitlement to service connection for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  2. Entitlement to an initial compensable rating for residuals of a fractured right wrist prior to September 11, 2008.
  3. Entitlement to a rating in excess of 10 percent for residuals of a fractured right wrist from September 11, 2008.
  4. Entitlement to an initial compensable rating for history of tinea cruris/pedis, onychomychosis (claimed as jungle rot) prior to September 9, 2008.
  5. Entitlement to a rating in excess of 10 percent for history of tinea cruris/pedis, onychomychosis (claimed as jungle rot) from September 9, 2008.


Appellant represented by: Disabled American Veterans




D. M. Donahue, Associate Counsel


The Veteran had active military service in the United States Air Force from March 1965 to May 1966, and in the United States Army from March 1968 to January 1970.

The appeal comes before the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) from rating decisions of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in Boston, Massachusetts, which denied entitlement to service connection for PTSD, and granted service connection for residuals of a fractured right wrist and history of tinea cruris/pedis, onychomychosis.

The Veteran testified during a hearing before a Decision Review Officer in August 2004; a transcript of that hearing is of record.

In September 2007, the Board remanded this matter to the RO to afford due process and for other development. Following its completion of the Board's requested actions, the RO continued the denial of the Veteran's PTSD claim (as reflected in an August 2009 supplemental SOC (SSOC)) and returned this matter to the Board for further appellate consideration.

The August 2009 SSOC also allowed an increased rating of 10 percent for residuals of a fractured right wrist, effective September 11, 2008, and an increased rating of 10 percent for history of tinea cruris/pedis, onychomychosis (claimed as jungle rot) effective September 9, 2008. As higher schedular evaluation for these disabilities is possible, the issue of entitlement to increased ratings remains before the Board on appeal. See AB v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 35 (1993).


  1. All notification and development action needed to fairly adjudicate the claims on appeal has been accomplished.
  2. The record does not demonstrate that the Veteran engaged in combat with the enemy.
  3. The Veteran's claimed in-service stressful experiences have not been corroborated by service records, and any diagnosis of PTSD was made based on an unverified account of in-service events given by the Veteran.
  4. The Veteran is not shown to have PTSD as a result of events during military service.
  5. For the time period prior to September 11, 2008, the evidence does not show any complaints of pain or limitation of motion for the Veteran's residuals of the right wrist fracture.
  6. For the time period from September 11, 2008, the Veteran's residuals of the right wrist fracture were manifested by pain and limitation of motion.
  7. For the time period prior to September 9, 2008, the Veteran's history of tinea cruris/pedis, onychomychosis (claimed as jungle rot), was manifested by an occasional itching of the feet and groin.
  8. For the time period from September 9, 2008, the Veteran's history of tinea cruris/pedis, onychomychosis (claimed as jungle rot), was manifested by dermatophytosis constituting about 10 percent of the body surface.

Dermatophytosis is a general medical term for what is commonly called "ringworm" though it it is actually an infection of the skin caused by various fungus. The two most common kinds are Tinea pedis or "athletes foot" and Tinea cruris or "jock itch".

Onychomycosis, aka Dermatophytic onychomycosis or Tinea unguium, is the most common fungal infection of toenails and fingernails.


[ . . . ]


VCAA [Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000]

[ . . . ]

Service Connection for PTSD

Law and Regulations

[ . . . ]

Factual Background

Service treatment records for the Veteran's first period of service include a March 1966 psychiatry clinic evaluation. The Veteran was referred for evaluation after he expressed an intense disinterest and avowed hate of air police work. He seemed poorly motivated to finish his Air Force career. Upon evaluation, it was noted that the Veteran has a poor record of accomplishment prior to entering military life. His I.Q. was borderline and his motivation was "nil". It was suggested that the [sic = he] be separated from service, as any attempt at cross-training would "be a waste of time." The diagnosis was immature personality. He was discharged from service shortly thereafter.

The Veteran's DD-214 for his second period of service reflects that the Veteran served in the Republic of Vietnam. His military occupational specialty at that time was Heavy Truck Driver. Among the awards he received were the Vietnam Defense Service Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal. His highest documented rank in service was E-4. Associated with the claims folder is the citation awarding the Veteran the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service for the period from March 1969 to March 1970.

Service treatment records, including a February 1968 pre-induction physical, a January 1970 separation physical examination and Report of Medical History, as well as periodic Army National Guard examination reports dated in April 1994 and December 1996, are silent for any acquired psychiatric disorder.

VA outpatient treatment records have been associated with the claims folder. In a June 2002 VA urgent care note, the Veteran complained of being extremely weepy for a couple of days and that he stated that he was hearing voices. He stated he could hear the voices and yelling of the wounded men that he used to help hold down as their dressings were changed in the hospital. In a June 2002 psychology note, the Veteran complained of the same incident in the hospital, and denied having distressing memories, flashbacks, or nightmares from his experiences in Vietnam or hospital until recently. The Veteran indicated he started to see severely injured soldiers in body casts crying and yelling for help, and stated that he found the images to be very distressing. He reported difficulty with sleeping and relaxing, and feeling apprehensive and tense. Following an examination, the examiner diagnosed acute onset of symptoms suggestive of PTSD, with no depressive symptoms.

In a July 2002 VA progress note, the Veteran again recalled his experiences at the hospital during Vietnam and reported that over the past few weeks he had experienced intrusive thoughts of Vietnam and of the military hospital that were very bothersome and distracting. The examiner determined that it was not recommended that the Veteran seek an evaluation for PTSD because of his substance abuse problems.

In July 2003, the Veteran appeared in VA urgent care complaining of terrible flashbacks after watching a war movie. In a July 2003 VA psychiatry note the Veteran complained of worsening alcohol problem and PTSD symptoms. He stated he watched a violent war movie which resulted in him experiencing increased nightmares and flashbacks, as well as hypervigilance and anxiety. He described the flashbacks as relating to severely injured people during his hospitalization during Vietnam and seeing people get run over by trucks. VA progress notes dated from July 2003 thru December 2003 showed occasional psychological treatment for episodes and substance abuse.

In a January 2004 VA examination report, the Veteran stated he was raised by both of his parents, but that they had problems with alcohol and were, at times, physically violent with each other. The Veteran denied experiencing any traumatic events prior to going to Vietnam. The Veteran indicated that while in Vietnam, his duty was mostly support rather than combat, and that he drove a flat bed delivery truck in Saigon. He reported that he felt that he was always in danger, and he witnessed some horrifying events, including a dead young girl and the scene of a helicopter crash. He reported that there were terrorist acts in the city that he felt continuously anxious and under threat, and that he also had to make deliveries to a leper colony where he saw people with sores and missing fingers. The Veteran stated that when he broke his wrist he was taken to the 106th Hospital in Tansanknut [sic = 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon] for one week and was then transferred to Yokohama Hospital in Japan [sic = the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama] for another week. He recalled that while in these hospitals, he was asked to assist in caring for those who were more severely injured including soldiers in terrible pain, missing arms or legs, and one soldier in a full body cast. The Veteran reported that after service he held a number of odd jobs until getting employed by the City of Newton as a truck driver and laborer for 20 years. He related he and his wife separated and for the previous 10 years he had raised his son as a single parent. The Veteran stated he abused alcohol for most of his adult life and also abused marijuana.

3rd Field Hospital 3rd Field Hospital, Saigon, near Tan Son Nhut Air Base
Screen capture from program of 2011 reunion of
3rd Field Hospital, Saigon (1965-1973)

3rd Field Hospital, Saigon (1965-1973)

Here and elsewhere in this decision, the appellant is said to have described his hospitalization as beginning at the 106th General Hospital in Tan Son Nhut (新山一) and then being evacuated to a hospital in Japan. The people who wrote the decision, in addition to misspelling Tan Son Nhut, seem oblivious to the fact that the 106th General Hospital was in Yokohama and the appellant must have first been hospitalized at the 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon.

The 3rd Field Hospital was near Tan Son Nhut Air Base on the outskirts of Saigon. The air base was a Republic of Vietnam Air Force facility but also became a major staging area for all branches of the U.S. military -- Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force.

It is not unusual to find errors in the names and locations of hospitals in personal accounts such as the appellant's testimony. But to leave such errors unchallenged, and to misspell such a high-profile air base like Tan Son Nhut, suggests that the people who heard the appellant's case were not familiar the geography of the combat zone and communications zone of the Vietnam War.

The origin and demise of the 3rd Field Hospital in Vietnam

The 3rd Field Hospital had an interesting history in Vietnam.

Dependents of American in Saigon were not withdrawn until early 1965. The American School in Saigon closed in February to permit the conversion of the school into the 100-bed 3rd Field Hospital. The hospital was then expanded to 200 beds.

In May 1972, the 3rd Field Hospital and the 51st Field Hospital were merged and reorganized as the U.S. Army Hospital in Saigon. In March 1973 the hospital became the Saigon Seventh Day Adventist Hospital. The Aventist hospital, which had opened in Saigon on 22 May 1955, was located in a 3-story mansion at the time it relocated to the 3rd Field Hospital facility. It closed in April 1965 with the fall of Saigon before a new hospital at another location could be completed.

The U.S. Embassy, which owned the building and equipment, contracttttt. At the time it was the last U.S. military hospital in the country. The Army continued to operate one wing until all American troops had been withdrawn. The hospital had handled about 66,600 civilian and military in-patients and thousands of out-patients during the war. (Summarized from articles in Pacific Stars and Stripes)

The 3rd Field Hospital arrived on 26 April 1965 and began operating from 11 May 1965. It departed Vietnam on 31 May 1972. Vietnam Order of Battle describes the hospital's operations as follows (pages 213-214).

The 3rd Field Hospital was established at Tan Son Nhut to provide hospitalization to temporary personnel troop concentrations as required in the field of operations and remained at that location under the 68th Medical Group for the duration of its service in Vietnam. Its assets were used to form the U.S. Army Saigon Hospital. In 1969 it had a 292-bed capacity (including the 51st Field Hospital which was subordinated to it at that time).

The 51st Field Hospital arrived on 31 October 1965 and was operational from 3 November. It departed Vietnam on 30 June 1971. Vietnam Order of Battle states that it "was located at Tan Son Nhut and attached to and operated by the 3rd Field Hospital, which see" (page 215).

Shelby S. Stanton, Vietnam Order of Battle (A Complete Illustrated Reference to U.S. Army Combat and Support Forces in Vietnam, 1961-1973), Mechanicsburg (PA): Stackpole Books, 2003.

3rd Field Hospital Baby Kathleen becomes Kathleen Cords Epps
Screen capture from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A1, 12 April 2003 edition, at
Baby Kathleen

The 3rd Field Hospital was the scene of another baby rescue drama in 1969 when a baby girl was brought to the hospital after the medics who found her pried her lose from the arms of her mother, who had been dead for two days following a Viet Cong attack on her village. The baby, who also had been wounded, was treated, baptized as Kathleen, nurtured back to health at the hospital, contrary to regulations but with the blessings of the hospital commander. Baby Kathleen was taken in by an orphanage then adopted by Marvin Cords, a Navy officer, who had heard about her situation from the chaplain at the 3rd Field Hospital.

34 years later, the story of Kathleen's reunion with the people who had saved her life was the top story in the Tuesday, 12 April 2003 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (pages A1, A6). The story was written by Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist Bill Obinski, with a Downiville, California date line.

Baby Kathleen, now Kathleen Cords Epps, lives with her husband and children in Downiville, which Obinski describes as "a town of less than 500 people in the historic gold rush area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains." This does not quite capture the character of the village, which is well above the snow line on Highway 49 on the upper reaches of the North Fork of the Yuba River.

Downiville is practically in the backyard of the town where I spent my formative years and would still call home, but for my decision to settle in Japan. I worked and lived and camped all around the area as a member of survey parties for the Tahoe National Forest when in my 20s, both before and after my 3-year enlistment in the Army. It's a long way from Vietnam in ways not measurable by kilometers.

The text of Obinski's long report is fully transcribed at The Vietnam Experience.

The Veteran complained of hypervigilance about danger, intrusive thoughts, nightmares of his Vietnam experiences one or twice a week, and difficulty with reminders of those events such as going to a hospital. Following the mental status examination, the examiner diagnosed alcohol abuse and dependence and PTSD-related symptoms. The examiner opined that the Veteran had made a relatively satisfactory adjustment prior to going into the military despite witnessing domestic violence, and that after Vietnam, he had struggled with some symptoms of PTSD, but that they did not appear to be gross indications of severe behavioral control or of great distress. The examiner noted that he did appear to have relatively chronic anxiety that may have been exacerbated by his military experiences but could also be related to his disruptive childhood experiences.

In a March 2004 PTSD stressor statement, the Veteran noted that he witnessed many civilians getting killed, and not by combat but by getting run over by vehicles on a daily basis in Saigon. He stated that in late December 1969 he was medically evacuated to a hospital where he was asked to help change bandages of severely injured soldiers.

In his August 2004 RO hearing, the Veteran stated that his PTSD was related to seeing people get killed or run over, and the time he spent hospitalized in Japan with wounded soldiers. He stated that while he was not on the front lines, Saigon was a dangerous city, and that he lived under terrorism. He reported that when he hurt his hand he was sent to the 106th General Hospital then Yokohama, Japan.

In an August 2008 VA examination report, the Veteran stated that while in Vietnam he functioned as a truck driver, primarily delivering humanitarian supplies for the Red Cross and other organizations. He stated that while he was never in direct combat, he stated that the converted hotel where he stayed was subject to occasional mortar attacks and that on a monthly basis he had to do guard duty at a local headquarters in Camen. He indicated that while on duty he was never directly fired on, but that he was frightened on each occasion. He reported seeing stressful events such as an accident where a young girl was under a bus, the site where a Vietnamese had been blown up by a bomb, a child dead beneath an oil truck. He also indicated that his experience at Yokohama, Japan was the most severe and distressing stressor as he and a few other military people who were ambulatory were called upon to help the orderlies while changing the bandages on some of the severely injured soldiers. He stated that he would have to hold them down while they screamed and cried out in pain, that he found this extremely traumatic, and that he felt profound guilt for having such a minimal injury compared to how severely they had been injured.

On mental status examination, the Veteran was found to be well-developed and healthy with rate and flow of speech in normal limits, and no evidence of a thought disorder. He denied delusions or ideas of reference. He complained of episodes of severe anxiety and crying, episodes of severe auditory and visual flashbacks. The examiner noted that the Veteran was not in combat but that he was in an urban area in Vietnam for nearly a year and during that time he witnessed a number of traumatic incidents primarily related to motor vehicle accidents. He also stated that while he was on guard duty he feared for his life, and that while in the hospital in Japan he witnessed and participated in the management of many severely injured soldiers. He noted that the intrusive flashback consisting of visual and auditory imagery from his time at the military hospital continued to the present. He also noted hypervigilance and hyperreactivity to loud noises, and military dreams which were usually precipitated by watching a violent war movie. The examiner diagnosed PTSD, delayed type, mild to moderate degree, and alcohol abuse and dependence.


The evidence necessary to establish the occurrence of a recognizable stressor during service to support a diagnosis of PTSD will vary depending upon whether the Veteran "engaged in combat with the enemy". See 38 U.S.C.A. § 1154(b) (West 2002); 38 C.F.R. § 3.304(f) (2007); Zarycki v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 91, 98 (1993). Participation in combat, a determination that is to be made on a case-by-case basis, requires the veteran to have personally participated in events constituting an actual fight or encounter with a military foe or hostile unit or instrumentality. See VAOPGCPREC 12-99 (October 18, 1999). If VA determines the veteran engaged in combat with the enemy and his alleged stressor is combat-related, then his lay testimony or statement is accepted as conclusive evidence of the stressor's occurrence and no further development or corroborative evidence is required - provided that such testimony is found to be "satisfactory", i.e., credible and "consistent with circumstances, conditions or hardships of service". See 38 U.S.C.A. § 1154(b) (West 2002); 38 C.F.R. § 3.304(f); Zarycki, 6 Vet. App. at 98. If, however, VA determines either that the veteran did not engage in combat with the enemy or that he did engage in combat, but that the alleged stressor is not combat related, then his lay testimony, in and of itself, is not sufficient to establish the occurrence of his alleged stressor. Instead, the record must contain evidence that corroborates his testimony or statements. See Zarycki, 6 Vet. App. at 98.

Notwithstanding the Veteran's current diagnoses of PTSD, in this case, the claim must be denied because objective evidence does not show that the Veteran engaged in combat with the enemy, and there is otherwise no credible evidence that any of the Veteran's claimed in-service stressors occurred.

The Veteran's service personnel records do not reflect any awards or decorations typically associated with combat. The Board points out that the Veteran reported in an August 2008 VA examination report that he did not serve in a combat zone. In other words, combat has not been established by objective, competent, and factual evidence of record. See VAOPGCPREC 12-99 at p. 4. Consequently, the occurrence of the Veteran's claimed stressors of combat cannot be established on the basis of his assertions, alone. The record must contain evidence that corroborates the occurrence of his alleged stressors. While the record contains evidence of treatment with the 106th General Hospital, there are no records which support that the Veteran was asked to help with the care of other wounded soldiers.

Furthermore, there simply is no evidence to corroborate the occurrence of the Veteran's alleged in-service stressors including the civilian casualties in motor vehicle accidents or helicopter accident.

The Board further notes that the Veteran also has not provided sufficient details to warrant any additional attempts to independently verify the occurrence of the claimed stressful events, and has not provided any other objective evidence-to include statements from other witnesses, or numbers and full names of causalities witnessed-to establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressful event, helping at the hospitals. The Veteran was informed of the insufficiencies of his submitted information in the August 2009 SSOC.

In light of the foregoing evidence, the Board must conclude that there is no verified or verifiable stressor to support the claim. Simply stated, combat has not been established, the occurrence of none of the Veteran's specific in-service stressful experiences has been corroborated by credible evidence, and the evidence provided by the Veteran does not present any basis for further developing the record in this regard.

[ . . . ]

Increased Rating Claims

Laws and Regulations

[ . . . ]

1. Residuals of a Right Wrist Fracture

[ . . . ]

Factual Background and Analysis

[ . . . ]

Prior to September 11, 2008

[ . . . ]

From September 11, 2008

[ . . . ]

2. History of Tinea Cruris/Pedis, Onychomychosis

[ . . . ]

Factual Background and Analysis

In a December 2003 VA podiatry examination report, the Veteran complained of bilateral "jungle rot" and that his right big toenail which was removed in Saigon. He stated it did not hurt him but that the nail is thick and difficult to cut. Upon examination, the examiner noted that there was no sign of interdigital fungal infection, the skin was supple and well hydrated, the right hallux nail was thick with two small .5 cm scars extending proximally from eponychial fold consistent with prior nail surgery, and the nail was not tender. The podiatrist diagnosed dystrophic nail, possibly caused by old avulsion/removal, which was relatively asymptomatic but difficult to cut.

In a December 2003 skin examination, the Veteran complained that during the summer he experienced occasional itching and an occasional small fissure on the groin, but that he used no treatment. Upon examination, the examiner noted that the skin was normal, with a slight thickening of the skin on the left side of the penis. The examiner diagnosed history of tinea cruris, history of tinea pedis, history of onychomycosis with removal of the right great toenail and resultant deformity, and lichen simplex chronicus of the penis.

In a September 2008 VA skin examination, the Veteran stated that for the past five to six years he has not been using any treatment neither for his groin nor for his feet and has not been seen by any physician for this problem. Upon examination, the examiner found no active rash, mild hyperpigmentation macule on the left groin and on the left side of the scrotum, about 1 cm in size on the left side, and a 1 cm rounded patch on the scrotum also. The examiner further noted that examination of the feet showed that the left foot was completely normal, and the right foot showed dystrophic dark hypertrophic toenails including the right big toenail and the found toenails on the right side. The examiner indicated that dermatophytosis of the toenails was evidenced on the right foot more than left. The examiner reported there were no diagnostic skin tests and no color photos taken for this problem, and that the Veteran had not been using any treatment for the last five years for either the groin or the feet. The examiner opined that this constituted 10 percent of the boy surface area, and 0 percent of the exposed body surface area. She noted no crustation, no disfigurement, and some thickening o the toenails with discoloration of the nails on the right foot, with no functional impairment secondary to the problem.

Prior to September 9, 2008

[ . . . ]

From September 9, 2008

[ . . . ]

All Increased Rating Claims

For all the foregoing reasons, the Veteran's claims for entitlement to an initial compensable evaluation for residuals of a right wrist fracture prior to September 11, 2008, for a rating excess of 10 percent from September 11, 2008, for entitlement to an initial compensable evaluation for a skin disorder prior to September 9, 2008, and in excess of 10 percent from September 9, 2008, must be denied. The Board has considered additional staged ratings, under Fenderson v. West, 12 Vet. App. 119 (1999) and Hart v. Mansfield, 21 Vet. App. 505 (2007), but concludes that they are not warranted. Since the preponderance of the evidence is against these claims, the benefit of the doubt doctrine is not for application. See Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 49 (1990).

Finally, the Board has considered whether the Veteran's residuals of a right wrist fracture and skin disorder presents an exceptional or unusual disability picture as to render impractical the application of the regular schedular standards such that referral to the appropriate officials for consideration of an extraschedular rating is warranted. Here, the rating criteria reasonably describe the Veteran's disability level and symptomatology and provide for higher ratings for additional or more severe symptoms than currently shown by the evidence. Thus, his disability picture is contemplated by the rating schedule, and the assigned schedular evaluations are, therefore, adequate. See Thun v. Peake, 22 Vet. App. 111, 115 (2008). Consequently, referral by the RO to the Chief Benefits Director of VA's Compensation and Pension Service, under 38 C.F.R. § 3.321, is not warranted. See Bagwell v. Brown, 9 Vet. App. 337 (1996).


  1. Entitlement to service connection for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is denied.
  2. Entitlement to an initial compensable rating for residuals of a fractured right wrist prior to September 11, 2008 is denied.
  3. Entitlement to a rating in excess of 10 percent for residuals of a fractured right wrist from September 11, 2008 is denied.
  4. Entitlement to an initial compensable rating for history of tinea cruris/pedis, onychomychosis (claimed as jungle rot) prior to September 9, 2008 is denied.
  5. Entitlement to a rating in excess of 10 percent for history of tinea cruris/pedis, onychomychosis (claimed as jungle rot) from September 9, 2008 is denied.

Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals

Department of Veterans Affairs


PTSD real and imagined

Health management in the age of victimhood

For some people, so-called PTSD (aka PTSS) is horrifyingly real. For others it is imaginary. For the burgeoning counselling profession, though, it is lucrative.

For 20 years, I was affiliated with the National Institute of Mental Health in Japan, first as a graduate research fellow (1975-1982), then as an associate researcher (1982-1995). I was not on NIMH's staff, but was sponsored by its director for the purpose of conducting research for my doctoral dissertation on suicide in Japan, and after completing my dissertation, I continued to work with NIMH psychiatrists and others in return for a photo-ID that gave me access to its library and other facilities, and was helpful in getting cooperation at other Ministry of Health and Welfare offices and the National Diet Library. I worked on various research projects while conducting my own research on suicide. I also presented research reports on and published in the institute's journal.

During my affiliation, I participated in discussions of changes in the 2nd and 3rd editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the diagnostic bible of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). While an American standard, the DSM is an international trend setter. Fashions in mental health practices in America quickly spread to other countries, including Japan.

While at NIMH, I also participated in projects related to Japan's contribution to changes in the mental health sections of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), the diagnostic manual created by the World Health Organization (WHO). As a Japanese government institution, NIMH was responsible for generating Japanese input to ICD revisions, in addition to participating in studies related to the international standardization of mental health questionnaires and the generation of data about the efficacy of drugs used to treat mental conditions.

When I came to NIMH in 1975, the standards were ICD-8 (1967) and DSM-II (1968). ICD-9 (1978) defined a chronic response to stress (or a response to chronic stress) it called Adult Onset Adjustment Reaction, and a transitory condition called Acute Reaction to Stress. DSM-III (1980) defined PTSD but did not define an acute reaction. Then ICD-10 (1993) defined PTSD and Acute Stress Reaction (ASR), while DSM-IV (1994) defined PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder. Later editions of both diagnostic manuals have continued in this vein while introducing new refinements.

So PTSD, an American coinage, came be used internationally to describe conditions that had been globally observed, especially in the wake of battlefield experiences, though called by various names, throughout history. English alone had terms like "soldier's heart" (Civil War), "shell shock" (World War I), and and "combat fatigue" (World War II and Korean War).

"Combat fatigue" was the term used at the 106th General Hospital to describe the condition of some patients in the Neurology Ward. My memory is vague, but I recall there were 2 such ward at the time I was there in 1966.

While stress may be a normal response to abnormal conditions, complaining of PTSD is not necessarily a normal response to traumatic conditions. There are "psychocultural" factors -- "cultural" incentives to make "psychological" complaints.

PTSD is very much an "American disease", though like some forms of popular music and fashions, it is slowly "trending" in other countries, including Japan, where the term is not familiar in mass media.

Human behaviors are subject to the bandwagon effect. If others are jumping on, you want to jump on too. No one wants to be left behind.

This is true of some medical complaints as well. Medics in military dispensaries, and school nurses and employers, now and then encounter cases of malingering. The psychiatrist I worked with at NIMH, who was also a clinician at the Konodai National Hospital next door, was a specialist in anxiety disorders and sociophobia, which includes stress-related conditions, and he was especially interested in the subject of hypochondria, which he considered culturally more prominent in Japan. In other words, he felt that there were cultural incentives to believe that one was ill or to exaggerte the extent of an illness.

It's the hair-in-the-soup problem. No one wants a hair in their soup. But if it seems that everyone around you has a hair in their soup, you want one too. When a college student in 1960s and 1970s, I witnessed the spread of the fashionability of claiming to be "in therapy" among some quarters of students. Until then, psychotherapy had been an elite approach to dealing with personal problems, but as medical schools and graduate schools of psychology cranked out more psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, mental health became big business.

With the popularization of PTSD in the United States from the late 1970s, following the Vietnam War, and as the difficulties some veterans were having were publicized in mass media, awareness of "post-traumatic stress disorder" (PTSD) rapidly spread to the point that every clinician and counseller is alert for ICD-cum-DSM signs and symptoms of the disorder.since the "disorder" was defined and then officially recognized by the psychiatric profession profession in the wake of, and partly in response to, the difficulties some veterans were having "coping" with their experiences in Vietnam. It appears to me that more people in America today, unlike in the pre-PTSD generations, are susceptible to the invitations to "play the victim fiddle" that bombard them in schools and mass media. The fashionablity of victimhood has gotten to the point that I would not be surprised of someone claims to be a PTSD victim on account of a trigger warning.

Claiming disabilities

The Veterans Administration handles all manner of applications for benefits, including requests for disability classifications. One spring, when visiting my parents, a nextdoor neighbor, who worked at the local VA office and specialized in benefits, persuaded me to apply for the lowest level of disability in order to gain access to medical services at a nearby VA hospital, in the event that I decided to pull out of Japan and return to America. While in the Army, I twice had staph infections in my ears -- the first time bilateral -- that were arguably related to my work in bacteriology. And for a time at least, my Army health profile showed a "1" for auditory perception and "0" for everything else. So I filled out the forms on a lark, and to kill two bird with one stone, I applied for a copy of my Army records.

Of course my request for a disability recognition was denied. In the process, though, I witnessed a bit about how things work in the system. It was a sort of good-cop, bad-cop set up. Local VA benefits staff were supposed to be friendly and encouraging. The VA is there for veterans, and veterans are supposed to be treated with respect. The bad cops were the VA bureaucrats who vetted applications with an eye for false or exaggerated claims. This made for good public relations, for the VA's visible local face smiled, while its less visible bureaucratic face frowned.

Maybe this is the way it should be -- give everyone a chance to convince a board of skeptics that their real symptoms aren't imaginary.


MUC claims



1990 reunion

Edward Lawson was a freshly minted lieutenant in the Army Nursing Corps when he arrived at Kishine Barracks on 31 December 1966. During his tour, which ended 31 October 1968, he was assigned to the Neurology Ward, but also worked briefly in infectious diseases, according to one of his several postings to the 106th General Hospital, Japan Unit Page of


106th, the early days

Many of you will remember LTC Ray Bagg, orthopedic surgeon, Chief of Staff. In the late 70's, I spoke with him about the 106th history. He said that he was the official Historian of the unit, but whenever he tried to put our experiences on paper, it became too difficult for him to relive all we shared. He told me that the unit was formed in WWII, and was put into "mothballs" for some years, being reactivated for the Vietnam war. After that war concluded, the 106th was again back on the shelf. The Kishine facillities were used during the Korean war as an R&R center. I believe that was when the buildings were built. If you remember how the hospital had no elevators for some time, you can see that the place was not designed for bed patients. After Vietnam hostilities ceased, the US govt. returned the site to the Japanese govt. They, thankfully, did not turn it into industrial, housing, or commercial property. Rather, they built a beautiful western style park, which stands to this day. At our unit reunion in Vegas, in 1990, Col. Reed, our original C.O., told us that at its busiest, the 106th held about 1200 to 1300 patients. (In a 1000 bed set up), and recieved one "chopper" every five minutes during the daylight hours, carrying either nine ambulatory patients, or six litters. Neuro and burn patients often came in on night flights. As many of you remember the "Evacuation Policy" of a General Hospital, (The time which we may hold a patient before either sending him home, or returning him to duty.), was 90-120 days. During the hight of "Tet" offensive, our evac policy was a week or less, for brief periods. That kind of explains why we were working our collective rumps off during that time! I wish that I could remember more details, but I hope that this small bit of info helps. Ed Lawson, 1LT, ANC, Neuro ward 1966-1968

Posted by Edward Lawson


Robert Wheeler on malaria, marijuana, medical miscellany, and murder

Robert Wheeler, who served as a Medical Service Corps officer at Camp Zama from 1969 to 1971, makes a number of interesting observations about the larger context in which military medical facilities in Japan supported the Vietnam War, in the following oral history interviewer conducted for the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. I have slightly reformatted the cited text. The highlighting, paragraphing and [ Subtitles], and Boxed comments are mine.

Veterans History Project

The Library of Congress
American Folklife Center
October 26, 2011

Interview with Robert Wheeler

[ undated ]

Sarah Thomas: This is the beginning of an interview conducted in West Virginia University's Martin Hall with Mr. Robert Wheeler. His birthdate is April 29th, 1942. His current address is 908 Briarwood Road, Morgantown, West Virginia, 26505. My name is Sarah Thomas, and I'm a graduate student in the school of journalism at WVU. I will be conducting the interview. Kelly Saunders, another graduate student, will be recording the interview.

Sarah Thomas: Mr. Wheeler, can you state for the record what war and branch you served in, what your rank was, and where you served.

Robert Wheeler: I was in the U.S. Army, and I served during the period of 1966 to 1971. I was a medical service corps officer. I served at Fort Sam Houston Texas, Edgewood Arsenal, the Pentagon, back to Fort Sam Houston, to Camp Zama Japan, and from Camp Zama Japan back to Fort Sam Houston Texas where I was discharged in the fall of 1971.

Sarah Thomas: Were you drafted or did you enlist?

Robert Wheeler: I was an ROTC graduate of West Virginia University. I was in the ROTC program from 1960 to 1964 and was commissioned second lieutenant on graduation 1965. I deferred my entrance to active duty to obtain my Master's Degree in environmental engineering at West Virginia University.

[ . . . ]

From there I went to Japan. In Japan, when I arrived, we had four hospitals, a medical depot, a helicopter detachment, and a laboratory, and we had 3,000 patients in the hospital. There were four hospitals: On Camp Oji, Camp Drake, Kishine Barracks, and Sagamihara or what was Camp Zama Hospital. And each of these hospitals had varying amounts of patients, several hundred to up to a thousand. Plus they would have families of the physicians, nurses. So the medical technicians all lived in the area, so we had 15 to 18,000 family members in addition to the support people in the hospitals that lived in the surrounding community in Japan.

[ Malaria ]

At that time it was a fairly significant issue, at least in my mind, because Japan had been malaria free, and many of the patients we were admitting to our hospitals eventually developed malaria because they could not -- could no longer take their prophylaxis for malaria. And this became a reportable incident to the World Health Organization, and we were not very well received in Japan at the time by the Communist party who did not support what was going on in Vietnam. And so that was one of our dangers over covering these people with nets after we discovered they had developed malaria because the mosquito was still present in Japan.

Probably the most -- some of the greatest people I probably met in my military career were there because their laying on hands of how they cured people's, not only their medical portion, but their minds as well. And it was a -- it was a labor of love that was often missed here and probably the thing I remember most about Japan.

We had one English TV station show. We didn't have CNN then. But we had one English show, and it was Tom Jones on every Saturday night at 11 o'clock. We lived with Stars and Stripes for our news, and the Far East Network which was the Armed Forces radio network which took selected materials from the U.S., and they would play them for us from -- they were very non-- nondenominational in the sense that they had many, oh, they had opera, they had the Mormons, the Catholics, the Jewish. They had all denominations on the radios.

But it was a -- it was a group of 18,000 people set down in another country, and we had to learn to live in that country. Many of the people lived on the bases, but many of the people lived off the bases. And the ones we were responsible, my job was to be responsible, for the water, the food, swimming pools, exposures.

[ Helicopters ]

It was also the time when, during this period of time, that helicopters were used extensively to transport patients. It's my, my -- if you've -- the history would show that the use of helicopters transporting patients to a hospital emergency room was first really used extensively during Vietnam, and since that time that's the way of life. Even here at Morgantown, in the last 25 or 30 years ago, we had no helicopters to transport people when I first moved here, and eventually they put helicopter service in at the med center. But we had a helicopter detachment that flew the patients from the airhead at Yokota Air Base or Tachikawa Air Base to our hospitals. It was a 15- to 18-minute flight if it wasn't -- if it didn't fly in the rain. The weather was so bad it was about a four- to five-hour bus ride because the Japanese traffic was just bumper to bumper for miles.

[ Marijuana ]

So it was a -- a very interesting time to watch what was going on. Sort of the upshot of drug usage became very prevalent during some of the -- with some of the people in Japan. It was just beginning. The people were growing marijuana in some of their flower boxes. And it was very difficult in Japan because if you were caught with marijuana, you went to prison. There was no -- there was no parole. There was no we're just going to put you on probation. So it was severe, and we ended up often sending people home before we told the Japanese authorities. It's not something people talked very much about, but certainly I'd seen that on the fringes.

Paul McCartney found out how seriously Japan takes its drug control laws in January 1980, when he came to Tokyo with the Wings and customs officials found about 200 grams (8 ounces) of marijuana in his possession. He was arrested and held in a Tokyo jail for around 10 days before the government decided to deport him rather than prosecute him. Undoubtedly he would have been found guilty, though probably his sentence would have been commuted contingent upon his being deported. As it was, his treatment served as a warning to other international celebrities who stood to lose huge amounts of income should their tours in Japan have to be cancelled on account of an arrest in Japan for involvement with drugs. For several years, McCartney was persona non grata with immigration authorities, but eventually he was able to obtain a visa, and since then he has given a number of performances in the country.

[ Harbingers ]

So it was -- it was a very interesting, the support we gave. We brought people to the hospitals. They came in from Vietnam. We always knew when something was going on in Vietnam because we knew that when our hospitals would get loaded up, a large offensive was about to start in Vietnam. They had to clear the hospitals out down there so they could handle the patients. The minute we saw four or 500 people coming on a plane every day, we knew that something was going on in Vietnam. Unspoken, we didn't talk about it, but, you know, you would then read in the newspaper that's what had gone on.

That a sudden increase in the number of patients medevaced to Japan, signified an increase in the intensity of the battles in Vietnam, was of course common "cause-and-effect" knowledge when I was at Kishine. It never occurred to me, until reading Wheeler's comments here, that the very first patients in the sudden jump represented an effort to make more beds in Vietnam immediately available to expected mass casualties.

We'd put many people in the hospitals. We'd stabilize them. In the early years, '69 when I first got there, we sent many of them back to Vietnam after we were able to stabilize them. The ones who were not able to be stabilized we sent back to the United States on the same type of aircraft to the various Army hospitals, Walter Reed or whereafter, Valley Forge. They would fly them through Alaska into -- into St. Louis or into Andrews Air Force Base and then take them to the hospitals here. They would take them to the hospitals closest to their families so the families could offer them the support they'd need.

[ Burn patients ]

It's a very -- to watch what had gone on and some of the technology that was developed in burn patients, we were on the cutting edge of some of the technology in burn patients in Japan. We had -- I was stationed near the hospital where many of the burn patients came, and they -- they were stabilized. They'd try to stop the infection. Eventually everything, when they were stabilized, they were then taken to Brooke Army Medical Burn Center in Fort -- in San Antonio, Texas. So that was one of the aspects of watching what people had done. And one of my best friends there, a physician, was a maxillofacial surgeon, and he did many gunshot wounds to the face. So you, you got to see many of the -- many of the technologies that had been under development probably in the early sixties they were then using in the 70s. Today the technology would be very antiquated, but at the time it was -- it was very far reaching what they were doing.

Sarah Thomas: So, let me just -- let me just make sure I'm not confused. So when the soldiers would get wounded out in the field, they would go to a hospital?

Robert Wheeler: In Vietnam.

Sarah Thomas: In Vietnam, and they would transport them to your hospital?

Robert Wheeler: Right.

Sarah Thomas: At Camp Zama?

Robert Wheeler: Right. Or they would actually bring them to the -- they would bring them to the Yokota Air Base, and once they got them to Yokota or Tachikawa Air Bases out of Vietnam, we would then decide which hospitals had the most available beds based upon their medical conditions, if it was an orthopedic, if it was a burn, or if it was a gunshot or other type of thing that they had to treat them. We treated hernias, cancers, maxillofacial. Each hospital had their specialist, so that's where we'd try to get them to.

[ . . . ]

Robert Wheeler: Flying over, flying in a helicopter to, to the officers' club in downtown Tokyo where the embassy's people use our clubs, and flying with three colonels. And, you know, we'd fly over the city of Tokyo, and if you ever had to set the helicopter down, there weren't many places to set it down.

Sarah Thomas: It was so crowded, yeah.

Robert Wheeler: You lose power, and then the plane has to go down and sit down somewhere. That was always the danger of flying. So there were, there were such very interesting situations that occurred with these people. And watching the -- I got to see all the records of who came and who went out of our hospitals. And so we would lose probably -- eight to ten people who would come from Vietnam would end up dying in the hospitals in Japan.

[ Hospital closures ]

But we eventually closed one hospital where there were a lot of Communist hotbed. We closed Camp Oji, and then we started to close the other hospitals. And then we eventually came down to Camp Zama. And when I left in 1971, we were down to a hundred patients from 3,000 when we arrived, and all the patients were then going to Okinawa, which is significant because there was a change in how they were running the war, and of course we didn't have as many people injured or as many casualties.

Sarah Thomas: So the hospital in Camp Zama, was that called -- was that the U.S. Army hospital?

Robert Wheeler: It was the Army hospital on Camp Zama Japan or U.S. Army Hospital Sagami-Ono -- Sagamihara, it was Sagamihara. Sagami-Ono was the prefecture [sic = area]. Sagamihara was the town. It was U.S. Army Hospital Camp Zama. Camp Zama was the planning area for the Japanese army during World War II. We had a Pentagon-size building there. It looked like the Pentagon. And concrete blocks. I was [in] it. We had to sleep in a vault when you're the duty officer. I got duty on Christmas day because I was a bachelor, and on New Year's Day, I think I got to sleep in the vault on New Year's Day.

Sarah Thomas: Yeah.

Robert Wheeler: But we were always on call, and if something happened, we had to do it. Three, three young men, three young fellows in my group, were killed in accidents when we were in Japan, automobile accidents, some of them. Some of them -- one was crushed by a truck, one was decapitated off his motorcycle. You know, people, you know, they speed, they drove too fast, may have gotten run off the road by the Japanese.

Sarah Thomas: Yeah.

Robert Wheeler: But it was stationed next to the base where the Navy had lost a plane to the North Koreans a couple years before, Atsugi Naval Air Station. They had flown a listening plane around North Korea, and they shot it down. So that was one of the other things that occurred. We used to always get the ships in, and they would be protested when it was a nuclear carrier. I don't know, it was a very interesting time, a very intense two years, to watch the flow of patients because we were always involved with the people who moved the patients from Vietnam.

[ Technology ]

It was very intriguing to see how we were able to manage people and get them back to the U.S. They're always on the phone. There's telegrams. We had, they called them "twixes" then, T-W-Xs. We didn't have fax machines. It was telephone or teletype. That's how everything, everybody communicated then. You didn't know about a fax. We didn't have computers. Everything was white-out or correction tape that you'd put over it. So, you know, today we get a little sloppy. You don't worry too much about spelling. Spell-check will catch it.

Sarah Thomas: Yes.

Robert Wheeler: That didn't occur then. You got it right. You got it right. It had to be right or it didn't go out.

Sarah Thomas: It was interesting, last night I actually found a patient brochure from the U.S. Army Hospital Camp Zama from 1969.

Robert Wheeler: Really?

Sarah Thomas: It was interesting. I found it online. The whole thing was on it. It even had a map of the hospital.

Robert Wheeler: Yeah.

Sarah Thomas: It was really interesting.

Robert Wheeler: It was a -- it was down the middle, and the wards were on both sides. And right behind the hospital was the 406th General -- the 406th Lab. And the lab did all the support of research. They did malaria research. They did -- the pathologists were back there, so they did all the pathology from Japan. And the officers' club was there. And this was the hospital that supported -- the closest to Zama and the U.S. Army Japan. But that was U.S. Army Hospital Camp Zama, and it was different than where the base was because the base had where the general lived, and he was in charge of all the forces in Japan.

We had a place where they rebuilt all the tanks and armored personnel carriers that were shot up in Vietnam. Rather than bring them all back to the United States, they brought them to Japan. They took them off the ships, brought them up there, and the Japanese contractors rebuilt the tanks and armored personnel carriers. We sent them back to Vietnam. It's very unusual that nobody really talks very much about that. That was one of the jobs we had.

We had a lot of stuff that was called retrograde cargo. They would load stuff in big containers and bring them back to Japan, and we'd have to gas it so we'd kill snakes and mosquitos and everything else that might be in the containers. And we'd bring them the containers, you know, and open them up and decide what to do with the property. So it was a -- it was a -- I don't think anybody ever wrote a true story about what the U.S. Army Japan did in support of the war in Vietnam.

[ Even for a doctor ]

There was a fellow named Glasser wrote "365 Days," and he wrote it like he had been in Vietnam, but he was actually a pediatrician in Japan. Ron Glasser is his name. He wrote that book 20 years ago. You may see that. But it's a very interesting story. He was a -- he rode his motorcycle into the middle of the officers' club. He was a little nutsy, even for a doctor. But you always had strange people in those environments that do strange things, because they were drafted, and they didn't particularly like the Army, but they weren't getting shot at either.

[ Murder ]

So it's -- it was the kind of thing that people, you know, nobody -- you didn't really get put in jail for drunk driving, and you didn't do a whole lot of other things. We had a number of people end up going to the Japanese prisons for various things that they did. One of the individuals in the helicopter detachment killed his Japanese girlfriend, and they were able to track that it was really circumstantial evidence that he had done it. And he got 20 years. There was no parole. There was no heat. There was no blankets. There's no nothing. And he was released in the early nineties. So you didn't get a parole from them. They're very harsh prisons. That's the last place you ever wanted to go in Japan. That's just the way they did things.

But it was, you know, it's a very, very interesting country that was just starting to -- all the stereo stuff that you see today, the Hondas are driven by bicycle chains; that was their drive. They didn't have the kind of motors, and all the military, we bought inexpensive cars. I bought a four-year-old car for 400 dollars. I drove it two years and sold it for 375. But we didn't pay taxes, and the Japanese did. Our gasoline was 19 cents a gallon, and their gasoline was about a buck-and-a-half then.Sarah Thomas:: Oh, wow.

[ . . . ]



Zengaku on Mad Magazine

American children in Yokohama at the time have also grown up with hauting memories of what they witnessed at Kishine Barracks during the Vietnam War.

Zengaku, a blogger who claims to be based in Los Angeles but has abiding interests in things Japanese, gives the following account, dated 1 May 2004, of visiting Kishine with a friend when they were boy living in Yokohama as children of Americans. The friend became a photojournalist who dubs himself "the King of Porn" on account of taking photographs that won prizes but exploited victims of war without taking their feelings into account.

The following excerpts focus on how Camp Kishine figured in the lives of Zengaku and his friend when they were impressionable youth growing up in a world they were left to understand as best they could. For the context of these excerpts, read the fuller drama on Zengaku's blog, In the arms of your significant being.

The Porn King

[ . . . ]

Years go by and I hear from him from time to time. He's doing well and I see his bylines in the news magazines. He talks passionately about journalism and the need to expose the true story and all that other stuff people in his trade lavish endlessly about. It was during one of those times that we somehow got onto the subject of the Vietnam War and one particularly vivid childhood memory.

We were probably eight years old and living in Japan at the time. Our fathers were in Government Service and our parents used to take us to the Officer's Club at a large Army Hospital base called Kishine. We'd see the Officers there having a great time as if nothing was going on in the world. However, it was quite a different scene at the movie theatre across the street. There, we saw and sat among the casualties of war. Most of the guys were in their early twenties and hospital patients who were mobile enough to make it to the theatre. They were in wheel chairs or in crutches and all bandaged up. It was a ghastly site.

It was about that time when a particular issue of "MAD MAGAZINE" featured a 10 or 12 page pictorial about the Vietnam War. One particular photo was forever burnt in our memory. The photo showed heaps and heaps of corpses--similar to a scene from the movie, "The Killing Fields." Under the photo was the caption, "War Is Hell." It's something we didn't expect from a comic book. It was beyond satire and it was the God's honest truth. It still stirs a deep emotional feeling in me to this day.

[ . . . ]

. . . I guess it just fell apart for him one day when he gathered a group of teenage girls who lived in a village which suffered horrendous retribution from Hussein's fleeing army which accused them of being pro-American. Needless to say, reports of rape and execution were a major part of the story.

[He] was on the phone rambling aimlessly about how his team sought this opportunity to make a centerpiece story. They prodded and cajoled the kids to talk about what happened in detail, took extensive footage of the corpses, the family and close ups of the townsfolk.

[He] commented how they were so engrossed in making this their Pulitzer piece [about a rampaged village in Iraq during the summer of 2003], they forgot about the actual suffering experienced by the villagers. "You know, they weren't even crying or sobbing. They were just plain numb. You could have told them to do anything. It only hit us when we were doing the editing. Here they were, positioned perfectly in the shot. The reportage was right on. We built the emotion into the story and it was just absolutely impacting. But you know what? We forgot all about the emotions of the victim. It was all about us trying to score with the story. You know, exploiting the circumstances. Here I am back in the US and they're still there. I started to think about about those young solders [sic = soldier] in Camp Kishine and all the residual effects of the Vietnam War we saw when we were kids. It's still happening. Only now, I'm the one who's taking advantage of the situation. I suppose, I've become, in some way, the King of Porn.["]


1966 air crashes

Within the first 3 months of our arrival at Kishine Barracks in mid December 1965, over 300 people had died in 3 plane crashes in Japan, two of them in the vicinity of Yokohama, and the third near Mt. Fuji, which was visible from Kishine Barracks. Owing to the record-setting number of fatalities of the 1st crash, and the clustering of the 2nd and 3rd crashes on successive days, all were topics of talk among 106th General Hospital personnel.

All Nippon Airways Flight 60, approaching Haneda International Airport in Tokyo on the evening of Friday, 4 February 1966, in clear weather conditions, crashed into offing of Tokyo Bay, killing all 123 passengers and 7 crew members. The flight dropped from the radar at Haneda and the crew of another flight in area reported seeing flames in the sky where APA 60 went down, but no cause was determined. The flight had originated from Sapporo in Hokkaido. At the time is was the most fatal single-plane accident in the world.

Then in March 1966 -- the month I turned 25, the month Virgil Murray Died, possibly also the month the pathology laboratory moved from Building B to its permanent quarters in the small building beside it -- 2 even more spectacular and shocking crashes of passenger aircraft occurred on successive days, both involving Haneda Airport

Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 402, bound for Vancouver from Hong Kong, attempting to land at Tokyo International Airport, aka as Haneda International Airport, by Tokyo Bay, struck the approach lights and a seawall when attempting to land on the night of Saturday, 4 March 1966, killing 64 of the 62 passengers and 10 crew. The control tower had kept the flight in a holding pattern for nearly an hour due to visibility problems. When finally cleared for landing, the pilot aborted his approach when visibility again dropped, and he decided to divert to Taiwan. But he was persuaded to attempt another approach, on which he dropped too low, his landings gear struck part some of the lights and part of the seawall that marked the approach and start of the runway, and the plane broke up as it struck the runway and left its wreckage strewn along the airfield. The control tower was blamed for the crash but investigators concluded the pilot was at fault for misjudging the approach in the fog.

British Overseas Airways Corporation Flight 911, a Boeing 707 bound for Hong Kong from Tokyo, crashed into Mt. Fuji during the morning of Sunday, 5 March 1966, killing all 113 passengers and 11 crew members. 75 of the passengers were affiliated with the Thermal King Corporation, a cooling-system manufacturer based in of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Among the corporate travellers were 26 couples whose deaths left 63 children without parents. BOAC Flight 911 had arrived at Haneda around noon the previous day after diverting to Fukuoka Airport because of conditions in Tokyo. An investigation determined that, over the town of Gotenba, near Mt. Fuji, while veering toward the mountain, apparently to offer the passengers a better view, the flight encountered fatal wind conditions which tore its vertical stabilizer off the tail of the fuselage, after which the plane experienced a cascade of other failures that caused it to spin out of control and plunge into Mt. Fuji. When taking off, BOAC Flight 911 had taxied by the still smoldering wreckage of CP 402.

An undated but contemporary Mainichi News newsreel reported 64 and 124 fatalities for 4 March and 5 March accidents. Among those killed respectively 6 and 13 were Japanese. Asahi Shinbun reported on 29 July 2015 that, the day before, a 50th anniversary memorial or "console the spirits ceremony" (ireisai 慰霊祭) was been held at a memorial monument in Gotenba city, which encompasses the site of the crash in the foothills of Mt. Fuji. The ceremony was attended by 65 people, including airline officials, some Thermal King representatives and some members of the victims' families, representatives of the prefectural police and Self-Defense Forces, which had assisted in the search for and recovery of bodies, the the mayor of Gotenba, who noted that the victims had represented 9 nationalities.

On Friday, 26 August 1966, less that a week before I left Japan, all 5 crew members of Japan Air Lines Flight 8030 died when it crashed immediately after taking off at Haneda Airport in the course of practicing take-offs and landings, apparently due to an error on the part of a pilot who was attemping to qualify for the aircraft.

Then, on the morning of Sunday, 13 November 1966, at Matsuyama Airport in Ehime prefectures, ANA Flight 533 came in too high, touched down too far along the runway, attempted to lift off again but, for undetermined reasons, lost altitude and veered into the offing of Seto Inland Sea, killing all 45 passengers and 5 crew members, all of them Japanese. Newspapers all over the world carried headlines and graphs like these (The Kokomo Morning Times, Kokomo, Indiana, Monday, November 14, page 3).

Plane load of Japanese honeymooners crashes

TOKYO (UPI) -- A Japanese All Nippon Airways plane carrying 50 persons, many of them newlyweds on their honeymoons, bounced off the runway while landing at Matsuyama Airport and cartwheeled into the Inland Sea off south Shikoku Island Sunday night.

[ . . . ]

Airline officials said many of the passengers aboard the ill-fated YS11 were young couples married over the weekend en route to a famed hot springs resort for their honeymoons.

Also among the passengers was a delegation of Japanese doctors returning to Shikoku after attending a medical conference in Tokyo. The Japanese plane was on a flight from Osaka to Matsuyama.

[ . . . ]

Some reports said there were 12 couples among the 45 passengers. It was also reported that none of the couples had yet registered their marriages -- which meant that, legally, they were not married. This created problems when it came to negotiations between ANA and the families of the deceased over indemnities. The Ministry of Justice, taking a cue from this, disseminated publicity urging couples to register their marriages early.

Marriage in Japan is a purely bureaucratic event -- a sheet of paper with names and birth dates and addresses of the couple and their seals, and the names and seals of witnesses. If both parties are Japanese, one must move into the other's family register and assume the same family name. Ceremonies don't matter and are strictly private. Many couples are ceremoniously married in the witness of their relatives and friends through Shinto, Buddhist, Christian, or other religious or non-religious rites, ceremonies followed by a banquet. In the past, many families waited until after the birth of a child to register a union. At the time of the ANA 533 crash, it was still common for couples to register their marriages whenever it was convenient after the holding of a ceremony and banquet. This meant the following week or even later in the case of couples aboard ANA 533, as it was a weekend, when most ceremonies and banquets are held. Some couples register their marriage first and socially celebrate days, weeks, even years later.

Some bodies were carried out to sea and never recovered. Sales of marine products harvested in area momentarily plummeted. An Osaka prefectural police helicopter and an ANA helicopter crashed into each other while searching for bodies and all 4 crew members died. Many people avoided plane travel on account of the series of crashes.


Other hospitals

This section show some basic information about other major military hospitals and medical facilities in Japan that in one way or another were related to, or supported, the 106th General Hospital during the Vietnam War, and are therefore part of its story. Since the 106th and other hospitals in Japan were part of a chain of evacuation that began in Vietnam, I have also included sections on hospitals in Vietnam and evacuation.

Sagami-Ono Hospital [U.S. Army Medical Center] -- Sagamihara city in Kanagawa
7th Field Hospital, Johnson Air Base --Sayama and Iruma cities in Saitama
  Becomes U.S. Army Hospital at Camp Oji -- Kita ward, Tokyo
249th General Hospital, North Camp Drake -- Asaka city in Saitama
406th Medical Laboratory, Camp Zama -- Zama and Sagamihara cities in Kanagawa
Hospitals in Vietnam -- Surgical, field, evac, and other hospitals

I may in the future include the U.S. Naval Hospital at Yokosuka.


Sobudai Rikugun Byoin Sobudai Army Hospital (Sōbudai Rikugun Byōin
Constructed in 1940, requisitioned by 128th Station Hospital in 1945,
vacated by Sagami-Ono Hospital in 1979, returned to Japan in 1981
Copped from Sagamihara Jōhō Hasshin Kichi
Crawford Sams Crawford Sam's Medic
1998 English edition
Yosha Bunko scan
Crawford Sams Crawford Sam's Medic
2007 Japanese translation
Yosha Bunko scan

Sagami-Ono Hospital

The Sagami-Ono Hospital was located on a stretch of land about 300 meters west and a bit north of Sagami-Ono Station on the Odakyū Line, or southwest of the intersection of Routes 16 and 51, between Isetan Department store on Route 51 and Sagamihara Women's University to the west of Isetan, in Sagamihara city, in Kanagawa prefecture. Proceeding southwest from Sagami-Ono, on either Route 51 or the Odakyū (Odawara) line, which roughly parallel each other in this part of Kawagawa prefecture, you will pass through Zama on your way to Atsugi.

Sagami-Ono, Zama, and Atsugi are generally west of Tokyo and northwest of Yokohama -- or roughly due west of Kishine, which is in the north of Yokohama. In relation to Kishine, Sagami-Ono is the closest, to the west and a bit north (23 kilometers), and Atsugi, to west and a bit south, is the furthest (38 kilometers).

BG Crawford F. Sams U.S. Army Health Clinic

When the Sagami-Ono Hospital closed in 1979, a part of the hospital moved to Camp Zama and continued to operate as an out-patient clinic. In 2006, a later version of clinc was renamed Brigadier General Crawford F. Sams U.S. Army Health Clinic, after Crawford F. Sams (1902-1994), who was the Chief of the Public Health and Welfare Section of the General Headquarters, Supreme Command Allied Powers (SCAP) during the Occupation of Japan after the Pacific War. As GHQ/SCAP's leading medical corps official, he oversaw everything related to health and welfare in Japan.

I highly recommend Sam's biographical account of his work in Occupied Japan, which included the first two years of the Korean War. A Japanese edition was published a year after the renamining of the Camp Zama clinic, and its jacket has a picture of the clinic.

English edition

Crawford F. Sams
Zabelle Zabarian (editor)
(The Mission of an American Military Doctor in Occupied Japan and Wartorn Korea)
[An East Gate Book]
Armonk (New York): M.E. Sharpe, May 1998
xxi, 313 pages, hardcover

Japanese edition

クロフォード'F. サムス (著)、竹前栄治 (翻訳)
Crawford F. Sams (author), Takemae Eiji (translator)
GHQ Samusu Jushō no kaikaku: Sengo Nihon no iryō fukushi seisaku no genten
[The reforms of GHQ's Colonel Sams:
The origin of Postwar Japan's medical treatment and welfare policies]
東京'桐書房、2007年11月 Tokyo: Kirishobō, November 2007
314 pages, hardcover

History of Sagami-Ono Hospital

The Sagami-Ono Hospital originated in March 1940 as an Imperial Japanese Army hospital with a capacity of 250-300 beds. It was originally called Haramachida Army Hospital (原町田陸軍病院) but was then renamed Sagamihara Army Hospital (相模原陸軍病院). I am unable to determine if "Sōbudai Rikugun Byōin" (Sobudai Army Hospital) was ever the formal name of the hospital. "Sōbudai" is widely used in place names in the area, and Sagamihara and Zama have adjoining Sōbudai neighborhoods.

The following overview of the History of the Sams Clinic, by the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Japan (MEDDAC-J), picks up the story from the Occupation of Japan, when the Sagamihara facility was taken over by the 128th Station Hospital. Some Japanese sources describe the the U.S. Army medical facilities as an "American Army medical treatment center" (アメリカ陸軍医療センター).



Our ancestral unit (the 8169th U.S. Army Hospital) was activated at Camp Beale, California, on December 20, 1942. In January 1944, the 8169th sailed for New Guinea, saw action in the Philippines, and was part of the invasion fleet targeted for the Japanese mainland which fortunately was never needed.

On September 26, 1945, the unit (now the 128th Station Hospital) accepted the surrender of the Japanese Military Hospital at Sagami-Ono and became the first U.S. Army Hospital established in Japan. The 128th admitted its first American patient on October 13, 1945.

The hospital served with distinction during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. In 1966, it was enlarged to 500 beds and designated as U.S. Army Hospital, Honshu. In that capacity, it served as the U.S. Army Burn Center of the Far East. The hospital received a Meritorious Unit Commendation for its service during the Vietnam era.

In November 1979, the hospital facility closed and relocated to become an ambulatory care clinic on nearby Camp Zama. In 1983, the unit was redesignated as U.S. Army Medical Department Activities-Japan (MEDDAC-J) and began serving as the sole Army medical treatment facility in all of Japan, responsible for supporting the U.S. Army Japan and U.S. Army Garrison Japan.

In March 1999, MEDDAC-J received its first full three-year accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

MEDDAC-J operates as a freestanding ambulatory care facility and is part of the Pacific Regional Medical Command with headquarters at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolul